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Poor Sleep Habits Raise Risk of Common Cold

Having less than seven hours' sleep a night almost triples risk of catching a cold

MONDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to rhinovirus is more likely to lead to the development of a cold in people who have less than seven hours' sleep each night compared to their better-rested counterparts, according to a report published online Jan. 12 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Sheldon Cohen, Ph.D., of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and colleagues conducted a study of 153 healthy subjects, aged 21 to 55 years, who recorded their sleep habits for 14 days before they were quarantined and exposed to a rhinovirus. They were then monitored for signs of a common cold.

Subjects who reported getting less than seven hours of sleep a night had a 2.94 times higher risk of developing a cold after exposure to rhinovirus compared with their counterparts who had at least eight hours' sleep, the investigators found. Those with less than 92 percent sleep efficiency were 5.5 times more likely to develop a cold than those with sleep efficiency of 98 percent or above, the researchers report.

"These relationships could not be explained by differences in pre-challenge virus-specific antibody titers, demographics, season of the year, body mass, socioeconomic status, psychological variables or health practices," the authors write. "The percentage of days feeling rested was not associated with colds."

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