The Healthy Habit You Have to Master If You Want to Avoid Catching a Cold

New study shows those who sleep less are more susceptible to catching a cold


We know that getting quality sleep on a regular basis is important for maintaining good health.

Healthy sleep habits promote cardiovascular health, weight maintenance, mental health, enhanced exercise and athletic performance, and a decreased risk for diabetes — just to name a few of the many important health benefits.

And another recently discovered benefit to add to that list includes a decreased risk for catching a cold.

A study published in the September issue of the journal Sleep found that participants who slept for an average of six hours or less per night were four times more likely to catch a cold when compared with those who slept for at least seven hours per night.

To analyze the association between sleep duration and a person’s susceptibility to catching a cold, the study’s authors used both sleep diaries and Fitbit-like devices to monitor the sleep of 164 healthy men and women for one week. The group’s average age was 30 years old.

Next, the participants were infected with the cold virus and were quarantined while the researchers observed who eventually got sick.

"What we found was that individuals who were sleeping the least were substantially more likely to develop a cold," Aric Prather, a psychologist at the University of California, San Francisco and a lead author of the study, told NPR.

In other words, if you want to increase your chances of avoiding the common cold (which is something we’re all definitely conscious of as we transition into fall and winter), getting adequate amounts of sleep is likely one of the best courses of action you can take.

Additionally, as NPR reporter Allison Aubrey points out, other research has shown that increased susceptibility may also be associated with age, smoking, chronic stress and physical inactivity.  

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