A new study confirms many of past doctors’ advice: sleep more to avoid colds. Sleep has often been said to influence our health condition, but very few people really bothered to get a proper amount of night sleep.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have been particularly interested in verifying the validity of this myth. Debates began when some colleagues started to praise themselves for being able to accomplish many things by sleeping very little. There were discrepancies between those who argued that people should sleep at least 8 hours per night and those, who thought sleep has no influence on our health.
To put an end to discussions, researchers did what they know best: they gathered a group of 164 respondents and measured their sleeping habits. Based on their observations, scientists have divided participants into those who sleep less than 6 hours per night and those who exceed the 7-hour minimum limit.
The study was then followed by a seven-day period during which respondents were exposed to cold virus to determine how strong their immune system was. The human cold virus was administered through nose drops, but the amounts of virus were the same as in the case of a normal exposure.
Mucus samples have been withdrawn on a daily basis to determine how fast respondents got infected. Based on the collected data, scientists have concluded that participants who slept less than 6 hours during the 7-day experiment got sick 4.2 times faster. Respondents in the other group had a slower incubation period, suggesting that their immune system was stronger because they slept at least seven hours per night.
Aric Prather, psychiatry professor at the University of California has explained that sleep has a strong influence on humans’ immune system. He believes their study has managed to illustrate how the system becomes more vulnerable when it does not receive the necessary amount of sleep. However, there could be many more consequences and humans could become vulnerable to other types of viruses, as well, was Prather’s conclusion.
The recent study was backed up by the 2013 survey of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to their statistics, many people in the United States suffer from insufficient sleep. One in five persons responded that they cannot sleep more than six hours per night, which makes the recent study all the more important.
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