Blog | Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sleep it off--avoiding the common cold

A study from researchers in Pittsburgh caught my attention for two reasons. First, the conclusion of the study: more and better sleep reduces the odds of getting a cold.

Researchers interviewed 153 healthy volunteers for 14 days about how many hours they slept and their sleep efficiency (the percentage of time in laying bed compared to the time actually asleep). Then volunteers then took nasal drops containing a rhinovirus and were followed for colds.

Volunteers averaging less than 7 hours of sleep a night were 2.94 times more likely to catch a cold than those with 8 hours or more. Those with 92% efficiency were 5.50 times more likely to get a cold than those with 98% or more efficiency.

That's astounding by itself. Less relevant but still prevalent in my mind is that 153 people volunteered to catch a cold. They got $800 for their time and trouble. I just got over a nasty cold and would pay that much to not get another one.