Can Lack Of Sleep Make You Sick? Yes, Say Researchers

Medical Studies
September 8, 2015

A new study published in the journal Sleep backs up everything your mother ever told you about the importance of getting enough shuteye.


Sleep Matters

At Withings we care about sleep because of the negative impact lack of sleep can have on your health. As our CEO, Cedric Hutchings, recently cited in Forbes, “Research showcased from the National Institute of Health highlights poor sleep increases the risk obesity and diabetes, hypertension, and heart diseases.”
And now, a new study, entitled Behaviorally Assessed Sleep and Susceptibility to the Common Cold concluded that shorter sleep duration also increases your susceptibility to catching that common cold.
The results were, if you pardon the phrase, nothing to sneeze at. Researchers found that people sleeping less than six hours a night were 4.2 times more likely to develop the common cold, and those sleeping less than five hours were 4.5 times more likely to catch a cold. However people who slept more than six hours, but less than seven were not shown to have an increased risk.
Previous studies have shown a correlation to lack of sleep and susceptibility to illness. However, those studies relied on subjects self-reporting, whereas this latest study tracked the actual sleep of participants.
This study involved 164 healthy men and women ranging in age from 18-55 years old. Participants normal sleep habits were evaluated for seven days before exposing them to the rhinovirus, putting them in a hotel, and then monitoring them to see if symptoms of the common cold developed. As a side note, hats off to the brave men and women who agreed to do this for science. We hope it was a nice hotel, and that there were ample Video On Demand options available during their quarantine.
In the New York Times, Dr. Nathaniel F. Watson, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine said, “This study reinforces the notion that sleep is just as important to your health as diet and exercise…People need to view sleep as a tool to achieve a healthy life, rather than as something that interferes with all their other activities.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Photo credit: “Pillows” by Jay Mantri