Adults who sleep no more than five hours per night or have a sleep disorder are more likely to have had a recent cold, according to a new study.
Getting too little sleep can have a direct impact on cardiovascular, endocrine and immune functioning that may increase disease risk over time, Aric A. Prather told Reuters Health by email.
In addition, “poor sleep may lead to health behaviors that also raise one’s risk for poor heath,” he said. “Short sleepers are less likely to exercise and more likely to engage in less than ideal nutrition that, again over time, can affect health.”
The researchers used responses from more than 22,000 adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys between 2005 and 2012. The participants reported their typical weekday hours of sleep, history of diagnosed sleep disorders and whether they had ever told a doctor about having trouble sleeping.
They also answered questions about having a head or chest cold, the flu, pneumonia, or an ear infection over the previous 30 days.
Almost 14% of people said they slept no more than five hours per night, 23% slept for six hours, 56% slept for seven to eight hours, and 7% said they slept for nine or more hours per night.
One quarter had told a doctor about trouble sleeping and 7% had been diagnosed with a sleep disorder.