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Lack of sleep can cause colds - research


New research published this week in a leading US medical journal has suggested that not getting enough sleep raises the risks of catching a cold. Researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University found that the risk is trebled for people who sleep less than seven hours a night, compared to those who sleep for more than eight hours. The study identified a connection between sleep and the body’s immune system and its ability to fight off viruses.

153 participants were tested between 2000 and 2004, with two-week interviews on their sleeping habits. Each were then quarantined and given rhinovirus, the cause of the common cold. It was found that the participants who developed colds were those who slept less. Sleep quality was also found to be a factor, with volunteers who spent less than 92% of their time in bed asleep were far more likely to catch a cold compared to those who were asleep at least 98% of the time they were in bed. The researchers claim that a lack of good quality sleep can disturb the creation of antibodies that fight illnesses.

The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, echoes earlier research which suggested a link between lack of sleep and heart disease, along with previous work on animals that came up with the similar conclusions with immunity.

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