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Although exercise has been proven to increase the immune system’s ability to fight infection, sleep is a key factor too, a new report says. People who sleep for less than 6 hours a night are four times as likely to catch a cold than those who manage 7 hours a night. Sleep was found to be more important in fighting off cold and viruses than smoking, stress, education or income, which are all know to impact general health.
“It didn’t matter how old people were, their stress levels, their race, education or income. It didn’t matter if they were a smoker. With all those things taken into account, statistically sleep still carried the day” said Dr Aric Prather, lead author of the study and professor of psychiatry at the University of California.
“Not getting [enough} sleep fundamentally affects your health”.
According to the sleep council more than 1/3 of people in the UK get less than 6 hours a night.
For the study, Dr Prather and the team monitored 164 volunteers for 2 months looking at their sleep patterns and other lifestyle factors. They were than administered a cold virus and monitored daily over a week. Those who slept for less than 6 hours a night were 4.2 times more likely to catch the cold than those who managed 7 hours or more.
These findings were in addition to a recent study by the University of Surrey that showed those who sleep less than 6 hours a night have changes to 700 different genes.
Both studies concluded that sleep was a fundamental pillar of good health.
Exercise has been proven to help sleep too, so if you are struggling to get enough done on your own you might want to consider enlisting the help of a well qualified personal trainer from Diets Don’t Work.