Sleep and the common cold

By • Published: December 21st, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Worried about that cough, the runny nose that won’t stop running and the general sense of blah that comes with the onslaught of the common cold?

There are several ways thought to help prevent the common cold, namely washing your hands and using hand sanitizers. But scientists have recently discovered one method that may surprise you.

Curl up with your blanket, grab a pillow and start counting sheep. Yep, new research shows that a good night’s sleep may actually help you avert the common cold.

A study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that catching fewer than seven hours of Zzzs a night triples the risk of catching a cold.

The quality of sleep a person gets matters, too. People who wake up a lot during the night may be more at risk for catching colds. The scientists found that people who were only asleep for ninety-two percent of the time they were in bed were about five times more likely to come down with a cold than sleepers whose snooze rate clocked in at ninety-eight percent.

It’s not the first time researchers have linked sleep to health concerns. A 2005 study looking at the sleep patterns of ten-thousand people found a link between obesity and getting fewer than seven hours of shut-eye a night. Other studies have found associations between working the graveyard shift and having an increased risk for breast and colon cancers.

Coffee may help you wake up, but when it comes to your health, apparently, you just can’t fake a good night’s sleep.