Here's a great reason (as if you needed another one) to catch those Z's tonight: A lack of sleep can significantly increase your chances of getting sick.
A new small study published in the September issue of the journal Sleep found that people who sleep six hours a night or less are four times more likely to get sick after being exposed to the cold virus.
Researchers had 164 healthy participants wear a wrist monitor for a week to determine how many hours of sleep they got each night. A few weeks after their sleep habits were examined, the volunteers were then exposed to a rhinovirus, the most frequent cause of the common cold, and put in a hotel for five days. Researchers took a culture sample from the participants each day.
The study discovered that how little the volunteers slept was a significant predictor of whether or not they caught a cold. Shorter amounts of sleep also seemed to mess with the body's inflammatory response, a critical function in the body that helps fight off viruses. Yikes.
The results are just an additional insight into how dependent our health is on our lifestyle habits. Research shows excessive drinking, smoking and a poor diet can also impair your immune system, which increases the likelihood of catching a cold.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night, which can feel elusive to most people. If you're having trouble drifting off, experts recommend tricks like getting out of bed and spending a few moments in quiet meditation or even journaling.
And it maybe wouldn't hurt to ditch that late-night Netflix binge. You know, for your health.
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