Scientists have confirmed another perk of sleep: keeping you safe and sound from colds and infections.
It appears that people who only rest for five or fewer hours each night have a 28 percent higher risk of developing a cold than those who sleep more. The situation is even more dramatic for infections such as pneumonia, flu and ear infections, which have an eighty percent higher chance of appearing in people who do not get enough sleep. These are the results of the most recent study on the matter.
According to author of the study Aric Prather, who is also an assistant psychology professor at the University of California in San Francisco,
“People who sleep five or fewer hours on average are at substantially increased risk for both colds whether head or chest or other infections, compared to people who sleep seven to eight hours on average.”
Furthermore, the researchers discovered that people with sleep disorders of troubles presented thirty percent higher odds of developing a cold during the previous month. As for infections, the risk was doubled for people who had sleeping issues. However, the scientists have yet to discover a clear cause for this phenomenon.
One explanation might be that white blood cells meant to fight infections, otherwise known as T-cells, cannot work at their full potential in sleep-deprived people. The study was built upon the previous work of Prather that involved exposing individuals to the cold virus and thus finding the connection between the duration of sleep and the risk of developing a cold.
His current research was meant to back up his previous conclusions with data from the real world. Prather pointed out however that he did not intend to prove a relationship of the cause-and-effect type.
In this respect, he used data provided by the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination survey dated between 2005 and 2012. Therefore, he was able to examine almost 23,000 records of both men and women of an average age of 46, who had all reported the duration of their sleep, their sleep issues and whether they caught a cold or developed any infections.
The study was published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal as a letter on April 11.
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