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Sleep: Nature's Cough Syrup

David Mittleman

We all know how important getting rest is for recovering from the common cold, but did you know that sleep is one of the most important factors in preventing yourself from getting sick?

A recent study at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh demonstrated that not getting a good night’s sleep will have a direct adverse effect on staying healthy. The 153 participants of the study were given nose drops that contained a virus for the common cold. After 28 days, the volunteers were tested for their immunity to that same virus based on the level of antibodies from their blood samples.

The results showed that people who slept less than seven hours a night were 2.94 times more likely to come down with a cold. Those who had trouble getting and staying asleep were a whopping five more times likely to catch a cold. Overall, the study found that anything less than seven to eight hours of continuous sleep per night will lower the body’s ability to fight off the common cold virus.

Sheldon Cohen, the study’s lead author, contends that based on these results “longer sleep duration and better sleep efficiency are both associated with greater resistance to the common cold.”

Yale University School of Medicine Prevention Research Center, Dr. David L. Katz, adds that “time invested in sleep will almost certainly be paid back in dividends of better heath – fewer colds and greater productivity.”


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