How did you sleep last night? Or even the night before? If you’re constantly tossing and turning, struggling to fall asleep, or simply aren’t getting in your seven to eight hours, you could be putting your health at risk.
Sleep is the time when our bodies can restore themselves, so if we don’t get proper sleep, our risk of developing health problems increases. Poor sleep has been linked to numerous ailments, like heart issues, low energy, even bad mood. The latest findings add more evidence to the importance of sleep by uncovering that poor sleep can increase our risk of developing a cold.
Poor sleep puts us at risk for cold and other infections
A recent study has found that improper sleep can increase our susceptibility to cold and other infections. The researchers looked at data from over 22,000 Americans who answered questions about their sleep habits and their history of contracting a cold, flu, pneumonia, or ear infection in the last month.
Respondents who averaged five hours of sleep a night were 28 percent more likely to report a cold within the last month and 82 percent more likely to have the flu, pneumonia, or ear infection. Furthermore, participants who reported sleep disorders or discussed their lack of sleep with their doctor were at a higher risk for illness, too.
The researchers wrote, “This finding adds to the growing scientific literature linking sleep with physical health. It may be time that sleep assessments become more commonplace in medical settings, as sleep may serve as yet another vital sign for health.”
Tips to get a good night’s rest
If you want to better protect yourself against illness, getting a proper sleep would be a good start. Here are some tips to help you get more shut-eye and boost your defense against illness.
- Create a positive sleep environment – cool temperature, dark room
- Stick to a sleep schedule
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol prior to sleep
- Limit daytime naps
- Exercise regularly, but not too close to the bedtime
- Manage stress
Along with these tips, ensure you speak to your doctor about your sleeping difficulties as you could have an underlying sleep disorder – like insomnia or sleep apnea – that requires medical intervention.