The real question about one recent study may be, did these “volunteers” undergo torture as defined by the Geneva Convention?
Past studies have shown that poor sleep habits weaken your body’s natural immune function. A new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine gets more specific. In it, researchers directly exposed volunteers to a cold virus to see if sleep made a difference in fighting it off.
In an experiment that I thought only medical students would volunteer to undergo, the participants were quarantined for five days. They got drops with a high concentration of rhinovirus up their nose and waited for the consequences.
No animals were harmed in this study.
Before the quarantine, these people reported their sleep patterns each day for two weeks. The investigators were interested in sleep duration and sleep efficiency (how long they reported sleeping divided by how long they were in bed. Below 85 percent is considered abnormal).
- There was a pattern. The longer and better quality the sleep, the less susceptibility to colds.
- People getting fewer than seven hours of sleep nightly were almost three times more likely to get a cold.
- People with less than a 92-percent efficiency were over five times more likely to get a cold than those with a 98-percent efficiency or above.
- Get your eight hours or more of sleep.
- Use good sleep hygiene to get quality sleep.
- Don’t forget your children and teens.
The researchers mercifully excluded people with heart disease, asthma and sleep apnea. They took multiple variables, including smoking and exercise, into consideration in the analysis.
Do you get enough sleep? What are your sleep habits?
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