LIFESTYLE

Lack Of Sleep Makes You More Prone To Common Colds, Study Finds

Another reason to get an early night.

14/04/2016 10:05

If you're prone to getting the sniffles on a regular basis then your sleeping habits may be to blame.

A new study has found that being sleep deprived has an adverse effect on our immune system.

In fact, adults who sleep for five hours per night or less may have a lower resistance to the common cold than their well-rested counterparts. 

LWA/Dann Tardif via Getty Images

The study, which is part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in America, analysed the sleeping habits of more than 22,000 adults between 2005-2012.

The data showed that those who reported regularly sleeping five hours or less on weeknights were 17% more likely to report having had a head or chest cold in the past 30 says.

What's more, those who were sleep deprived were found to be 51% more likely to report having had an infection, compared with those who reported sleeping seven hours to eight hours each night. 

Individuals who had previously been diagnosed with a sleep disorder were found to be 18% more likely to report having had a cold in the previous 30 days and 88% more likely to have had an infection, compared to those without a sleep disorder.

Speaking to The Huffington Post, lead study author Aric Prather said it's time we took sleep more seriously.

"Sleep has consistently taken a back seat to other health behaviours when it comes to investment, both on the part of the individual who is thinking about his or her health, as well as institutions, including the health care system," he said.

"Sleep is central to health — and our health might depend on it."

If you're finding it difficult to nod off at night you might want to treat yourself to some dark chocolate before bedtime.

A second study released this week by the University of Edinburgh found that foods rich in magnesium, such as dark chocolate, can help keep our body clocks regulated and therefore aid sleep. 

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