Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sleep to Keep from Catching a Cold

It turns out that your mother was right all along. Getting more sleep can help you avoid catching a cold.

A new study shows that sleeping less than seven hours per night may make you three times more likely to develop a cold. There also was a link to “sleep efficiency.”

This is the percentage of time in bed that you are asleep. A high efficiency means that almost all your time in bed was spent sleeping. A low efficiency means that you were awake for much of your time in bed. Maybe you had trouble falling asleep. Or you woke up in the middle of the night and struggled to return to sleep.

To find your sleep efficiency, divide your total sleep time by your time in bed. For example, maybe you slept for 6.5 hours of the seven hours you spent in bed. This would give you a sleep efficiency of 93%.

The study found that those with an average sleep efficiency of less than 92% were 5.5 times more likely to develop a cold. Results remained significant after controlling for other factors.

The study involved 153 healthy men and women. They were between 21 and 55 years of age. For 14 days they reported their sleep duration and sleep efficiency from the previous night.

Then they were given nasal drops containing a rhinovirus. Their symptoms were monitored for five days while they were kept in isolation.

You can improve your sleep efficiency by following the tips of good
sleep hygiene. Seek help at a sleep center if you have an ongoing problem that keeps you from sleeping well.

Now if only someone would do a study to see if Mom was right about chicken soup. Oh wait –
it’s already been done.


Anonymous said...

Liking the new blog... something interesting to learn every day.

Keep up the good work.

AASM said...

Thanks - glad you're enjoying it. Sleep is certainly a fascinating subject.

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