Quality sleep is one of those things we don’t prioritize as much as we should, even though we know it can be very important in our daily lives.
Just like eating healthy on a consistent basis and making sure we are not sitting down for more than half our waking hours, in the back of our minds we know we should be getting good sleep each night. Research has been mounting to show how our immune system depends on it and that those who get five hours or less at night are 50 percent more likely to get an infection.
Survey data was collected for 22,726 adults regarding their weeknight habits between the years 2005 and 2012. The participants self-reported how many hours of rest they achieved each night and whether they had experienced sickness within the last 30 days. The results revealed how those who had five hours of sleep per night, or less, were 17 percent more likely to catch a cold and 51 percent more likely to develop some kind of infection, such as the flu or pneumonia.
The analysis also took sleep disorders into consideration. Those with a diagnosed sleep condition were also found to be 18 percent more likely to catch a cold and a startling 88 percent more likely to develop an infection. This new look at sleep and its health effects adds to a growing body of evidence to support the need for a closer look at our bedtime habits.
“Sleep plays an incredibly important role in regulating and maintaining an efficient immune system,” said Aric Prather, lead study author and assistant professor of psychiatry and associate director of the Center for Health and Community at University of California, to The Huffington Post. He added, “Sleep has consistently taken a back seat to other health behaviors” and calls for more medical providers to assess sleep habits with their patients.
If we have our blood pressure, temperature, height and weight measured each time we visit our docs, why not also check in with our snooze protocol? Preventative medicine is something the western world struggles with in general, yet a patient armed with information can be an asset in the journey to better overall health.