San Francisco – A new study from the University of California, found that people who sleep six hours or less daily, are more vulnerable to catch a cold than people with better sleeping routines.

For the research, scientists asked 165 healthy volunteers to wear a wrist sensor to track their sleep habits for one week. Then, participants were quarantined and received nasal drops containing rhinovirus. They were monitored over 5 days for the development of a clinical cold.


The study, published in the journal Sleep, was intended to look only at sleep duration, not sleep quality. Participants in this study were Pittsburgh residents between ages 18 to 55. Results were that a shorter sleep duration was associated with increased susceptibility to the common cold risk. The numbers described that cold risk was 4.2 times greater for those who slept less than six hours a night and 4.5 times greater for those who slept five hours or less a night.

“Short sleep was more important than any other factor in predicting subjects’ likelihood of catching cold. 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.” lead researcher Dr Aric Prather, from the University of California San Francisco, concluded.

Experts say on average, people need about eight hours of good-quality sleep a night to function properly.

Source: Journal Sleep