September 21, 2015 – Sleep and Infection


Anchor lead: Now there’s proof that a sleep shortfall increases infection risk, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Your mother has likely advised you that you need your sleep to stay healthy.  Turns out she was right, based on a recent study looking at sleep and susceptibility to infection with a cold virus.  Redonda Miller, an internal medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, describes the study.

Miller: They had them keep a sleep diary and use wrist actigraphy to monitor their sleep quality, duration, the sleep continuity, over seven days.  They then took these 164 adults, quarantined them in a room, and then administered nasal drops containing rhinovirus, the common cold.  And they waited five days to see who would catch a cold.  Forty eight of the participants developed a cold.  Those who slept less than 5 hours per night were 4.5 times more likely to catch a cold than those who slept more than 7 hours a night.   :32

Miller says she’d like to see a study with more participants to confirm these results, but they certainly seem reasonable and for now, she would advise adopting the habit of getting more sleep for most.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.