A new study has shown that sleeping for less than seven (7) hours each night leaves you four (4) times more vulnerable to catching a cold.
Even though health experts keep stressing the importance of a good night’s sleep, the reality is that modern life demands a lot of us, both on a professional front and on a personal front.
Commercial companies have done their best to answer this need and while they have yet to come up with a product that’s as efficient as we want it to be, they did come up with coffee and energy drinks. However, health experts insist that they can never replace actual rest.
But many people also pride themselves on being able to get through a busy day with just a few hours of sleep. So in response, a team of US researchers have set out to investigate how healthy this lifestyle is.
What they found was that people who sleep less than seven (7) hours each night increase their chances of catching a cold by no less than four (4) times, compared to people who sleep at least seven (7) hours if not more each night.
The news should not come as a shock as several studies and surveys have linked poor sleeping patterns to low productivity and chronic illness, as well as premature death. But the new study is the first to offer proof of a link between poor sleeping patterns and vulnerability to infectious sickness.
Aric Prather, lead author and assistant professor of psychiatry from the University of California San Francisco, gave a statement saying that his friends and colleagues often brag about their ability to get through the day after only sleeping for a few hours.
He went on to add that it is his hope “that studies like this one will provide the necessary science to show conclusively that chronic short sleep has a health cost”. What the research suggested is that the less a person sleeps at night, the more likely they are to catch a cold.
Professor Prather warned that during the study the “individuals who were sleeping the least were substantially more likely to develop a cold”. This conclusion stayed the same even after the research team took into account control factors such as age, smoking status and stress levels.
But the reality does not match professor Prather’s desire. Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) inform that insufficient sleep is so wide spread among Americans that it’s almost become an epidemic.
Statistically speaking, one (1) in five (5) United States citizens sleeps for less than six (6) hours on a nightly basis. Not only this, but a survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation back in 2013 looked at six (6) different countries and concluded that Americans get the least sleep.
For the study, the researchers took a hands on approach. While similar studies carried out in the past have relied on the subjects’ self reported sleep patterns and history of being sick, the researchers working on the new study enrolled 164 subjects into a program that allowed them to assess their normal sleep habits and their ability to fight off cold viruses after being deliberately infected with them.
The study was published earlier this week, on Monday (August 31, 2015), in the medical journal Sleep.
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