Short Sleepers More Likely to Develop Cold

Pharmacy Times, November 2015 Cough, Cold, & Flu, Volume 81, Issue 11

Those who do not get enough sleep could be more susceptible to catching the common cold.

Those who do not get enough sleep could be more susceptible to catching the common cold, according to the results of a recent study. The study, published in Sleep, monitored the normal sleep patterns of 164 volunteers over the course of a week before the cold virus was administered to the participants via nasal drops. The research team found that the patients who had slept less than 6 hours a night were 4.2 times more likely to develop a cold when exposed to the virus compared with those who slept more than 7 hours a night; those who slept less than 5 hours were 4.5 times more likely to become sick.

“Short sleep was more important than any other factor in predicting subjects’ likelihood of catching cold,” said lead author Aric Prather, PhD, in a press release. “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.”

The researchers noted that this study, the first to use objective sleep measures in examining the link between natural sleep habits and the risk of getting sick, highlights the critical role that sleep plays in preventing illness. They emphasized that further efforts should be made to raise awareness of the importance of sleep to patient health.