Itâ€™s no secret that getting enough sleep is important for our health. But now, a new study at the University of California, San Francisco has found that sleep affects how susceptible we are to viruses like the common cold. Study leader Aric Prather explains that volunteers were given the cold virus via nasal drops and were then monitored over one week.
"People who slept less were more likely to get the cold, but then when we broke it down by hours we actually saw what seemed like a threshold effect. So it turned out that people who sleep less than six hours are about four times the odds of getting the cold than people who sleep seven hours or more. So compared to people who sleep seven hours or more, people who sleep less than six are at four times the risk."
Prather says that the researchers measured subjectsâ€™ normal daily sleep habits to study the effects of chronic sleep loss.
"To do that we had to measure peopleâ€™s fluctuation in their sleep, because we think itâ€™s not just a night of missed sleep but this chronic experience of lack of sleep that might put people at risk."
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