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Can Sleep Prevent a Cold?

The 1 Thing You Should Do This Winter If You Want to Avoid Catching a Cold


As if you needed another reason to make getting sleep your number one New Year's resolution, priority, goal in life, and personal mission, here's this: people who sleep eight or more hours are less than half as likely to get a cold — even when they literally have the cold virus in their nose.

We're not even embellishing. A 2009 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that "poorer sleep efficiency and shorter sleep duration in the weeks preceding exposure to a rhinovirus were associated with lower resistance to illness." Let's translate that: crappy or not enough sleep in the weeks leading up to your exposure to a cold can weaken your immune system and make you more likely to get sick.

The study looked at more than 150 men and women; they were "quarantined in separate rooms" before being exposed to the virus (that's a nice way of saying having it placed in their nose) and subsequently monitored for five days "to assess infection and signs and symptoms of illness." The researchers themselves called this "the viral challenge." Pretty wild, right?

As for the results, participants who got less than seven hours of sleep were three times more likely to develop a cold than those with eight or more hours. Those who got better sleep successfully staved off colds.

So, there you have it. It looks like it's finally time to get into a bedtime routine.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sheila Gim
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