September 22, 2015 – Why Sleep?


Anchor lead:  Why does shortened sleep result in more susceptibility to infection? Elizabeth Tracey reports

People who sleep shorter periods of time are more likely to get colds, a recent study concludes, but why?  Redonda Miller, an internal medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, talks about a mechanism involving a key component of the immune system known as T cells, and that it takes chronic short sleep to emerge.

Miller: When you look at the underlying proposed pathophysiology, it seems that you would need more chronic sleep deprivation to truly impact T cell function and proliferation.  So my sense is that in this study, these 7 days were probably on the whole reflective of a chronic pattern.  :18

Miller says the conclusion is clear.

Miller: I think it validates the guidelines that say that adults should aim for 7 to 8 hours a night, teenagers need 9, younger children need even more around 10 or so, so I think we do need to do better as a society. Put the iPad down, turn off the TV, and go to bed.  :16

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.