The connection between poor sleep and getting sick isn’t just a myth. New research led by the University of California-San Francisco found that getting 6 hours of sleep or less each night is associated with being four times more likely to catch a cold when exposed to the virus, compared to sleeping more than 7 hours.
Published in the journal SLEEP, the team collected and analyzed from 164 study participants between 2007 and 2011 as they underwent 2 months of health screening, questionnaires, and interviews regarding stress, mood, sleep habits and cigarette and alcohol use. Sleep quality was also assessed using a sensor the week before the participants were exposed to the cold virus.
Those who slept 6 hours a night the week before being directly exposed to the virus were 4.2 times more likely to get sick, while those who sleep less than 5 hours a night were 4.5 times more likely.
“Short sleep was more important than any other factor in predicting subjects’ likelihood of catching cold,” says lead study author Dr. Aric Prather. “It didn’t matter how old people were, their stress levels, their race, education or income. It didn’t matter if they were a smoker. With all those things taken into account, statistically sleep still carried the day.”
Missing sleep doesn’t just make you irritable and tired; it impacts your physical health, increasing your risk for serious health conditions such heart disease, cancer, obesity, and dementia, while making you more susceptible to diseases and a premature death.
Make each night of shut-eye your best on a high-quality mattress in a cold, dark, and quiet bedroom. 7-9 hours of deep sleep every night of the week brings priceless rewards including better health and more happiness.