According to past studies, even when we are exposed to viruses by touching a keyboard or another object that is covered with cold germs from infected persons, we do not end up being sick. Psychologists say that is because our habits bear a great influence on our health.
Most of the time, in the background of our awareness, our immune system deals with cold germs and other viruses. But recent studies found that the effectiveness of their defense can vary. A new research wanted to analyze the extent to which a bad sleep is influencing our immune system. 160 healthy participants were asked to change their sleeping habits for a period of one week. In the first day, each person’s face was sprayed with a cold virus by the scientists.
The “victims” were then quarantined, and the scientific team observed the results. What they found is that the individuals who were sleeping for longer periods of time were substantially more immune to getting a cold, whereas the majority of those who slept the least caught a cold.
Additionally, the participants who slept for less than six hours a night over the course of the study were up to four times more prone to catch the cold. From another perspective: 40% of the adults who slept less than six hours got sick, whereas the number of those who slept longer was of only 18%. The conclusion of the study was that seven hours of sleep a night prevents common cold.
It isn’t quite clear why a good night’s sleep is making our immune system function better, but the scientists suspect that it has something to do with the levels of inflammation, which is significantly increased in those who sleep less.
It’s a bit surprising that after so many decades of studies on common cold we know so little about the viral disease. Factors that may increase our susceptibility to the viruses that cause the common cold can also be age, chronic stress, a lack of exercise, drinking, and smoking.
Common cold is always lurking, and the study recommends that in order to increase our chances of avoiding the virus we should get at least seven hours of sleep nightly.
Photo credits: Wikipedia