Am I more likely to get a cold if I’m short of sleep?

Sleeping over seven hours a night may help your immune system fight off illness.

24th March 2018
Am I more likely to get a cold if I’m short of sleep?

Asked by: Alice Parker, Cardiff

There is some evidence to support this idea. In a study conducted by researchers from the US, the sleep of 164 participants was assessed over a week. Those in the study were then given some nasal drops containing rhinovirus, and monitored for five days to see if they developed signs of a cold.

As assessed by actigraphs (watch-like devices), those who slept for short periods (up to six hours a night) were more likely to develop a cold than those who slept for longer periods (over seven hours a night). This finding chimes well with other research showing that if we miss out on sleep for even a single night, our immune system is compromised.

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