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New sleep research


8 hours of shut-eye helps prevent colds


Preventing the common cold could be as simple as getting more sleep, according to new research at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University.


Researchers exposed 153 healthy adults to cold viruses. After five days, 54 of them were sick. Those who slept less than seven hours a night in the weeks before exposure were three times more likely to get sick than those who habitually slept eight hours or more.


"The longer you sleep, the better off you are and the less susceptible you are to colds," said lead author Sheldon Cohen.


Even fitful sleep may increase the risk of catching a cold. Participants who tossed and turned more than 8% of their time in bed were five times more likely to get sick than those who were sleepless only 2% of the time.


Prior research has shown that sleep boosts, the immune system, but this is the first to show that small sleep disturbances increase the risk of getting sick, noted Dr. Michael Irwin, who researches immune response at the University of California.


"The message is to maintain regular sleep habits because those are really critical for health," he said.


The study was published in Archives of Internal Medicine.

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