Scientists have revealed that insufficient sleep is connected to an increased chance of getting sick.
Lead author Aric Prathe of the University of California, San Francisco said that the findings added to growing evidence emphasizing how important sleep was for health, and added not getting enough sleep affected physical health.
In the study, 164 adults underwent two months of health screenings, interviews and questionnaires to establish baselines for factors like stress, temperament, and alcohol and cigarette use.
The participants were sequestered in a hotel, administered the cold virus via nasal drops and monitored for a week, collecting daily mucus samples to see if the virus had taken hold.
They found that subjects who slept less than six hours a night were 4.2 times more likely to catch the cold compared to those who got more than seven hours of sleep, and those who slept less than five hours were 4.5 times more likely.
Prather said the study showed the risks of chronic sleep loss better than typical experiments in which researchers artificially deprive subjects of sleep, because it was based on subjects’ normal sleep behavior.
According to the researchers, sleep should be treated as a crucial pillar of public health, along with diet and exercise.
The study is published in the Journal Sleep.