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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS - 13/1/09

Snooze away the sneezes

Tuesday January 13th, 2009

By Leigh Parry

A bad night's sleep could raise your risk of getting a cold, researchers reported last night.

A study of 153 healthy men and women - aged around 37 years - found that those who slept for less than seven hours a night were three times more likely to develop a cold when exposed to the virus.

Researchers from the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, USA, interviewed participants daily over a two-week period, recording how many hours they slept each night, the percentage of time in bed spent asleep (sleep efficiency) and whether they felt rested.

They were then quarantined and given nasal drops containing rhinovirus.

The study found less sleep led to a higher risk of a cold. Lower sleep efficiency was also associated with developing a cold, according to the research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Participants who spent less than 92 per cent of their time in bed asleep were five and a half times more likely to become ill than those whose efficiency was 98 per cent or more.

The authors said a possible explanation was that sleep disturbance influenced the regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, histamines and other symptom mediators released in response to infection.

They suggested that seven to eight hours of sleep per night was a reasonable target.

Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(1):62-67

Tags: Flu & Viruses | General Health | North America

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