Lack of Sleep Increases Chances of Cold and Flu

The pace of life in the modern day has escalated tremendously, making people sleep for fewer hours each night. This is despite the common knowledge that lack of adequate sleep has been proven to weaken the immune system. For instance, previous studies have shown that sleep deprivation can accelerate diabetes, accelerate tumor growth, as well as impair all aspects of your cognition.

Nonetheless, according to a new study carried out by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, any adult who does not sleep for at least seven hours a night is at a higher risk of catching a cold. According to this new study, lack of adequate sleep can also bring about infections, flu, and even pneumonia.

Participants sleeping five hours or less were 28% more likely to report having a cold.

In the study, researchers analyzed information from over twenty-two thousand Americans who took part in a national survey between 2005 and 2012. The participants answered questions regarding their sleep habits, and also whether they’d had pneumonia, flu, an ear infection or a cold in the previous month.

The results revealed that participants who slept for not more than five hours on an average weeknight were twenty-eight percent more likely to report having a cold in the previous month. They were also eighty-two percent more likely to report having the flu, ear infection or pneumonia, as compared to the participants who slept for more than seven hours a night.

Additionally, the study also revealed that participants who had a sleeping disorder or who said they had talked to their doctor about sleep problems were also more likely to have had a cold or an infection in the previous month, compared to those who did not report such problems. However, the study did not find any association between sleeping a lot and the risk of catching a cold or an infection.

lack of sleep

According to the researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, the revelations of this study is an addition to the growing scientific literature linking adequate sleep to physical health. They further stressed the importance of including sleep assessment in the modern medical setting, as it may serve as a vital sign for health.

The findings of this study echo the revelations of previous research which involved smaller studies. For example, in a previous study, one hundred and sixty-four participants agreed to be given nasal drops containing rhinovirus, the virus that causes the common cold. Among the whole group, the participants who got less than six hours of sleep per night were almost four times more susceptible to a cold, compared to those who slept more than seven hours a night.

This latest study is one of the first to research the relationship between sleep and risk of infection in a large number of participants.