It turns out, our mothers were on to something. Research shows that a lack of sleep makes us more prone to catching a cold, the flu and other infections. Our immune system gets recharged and balanced during deep stages of sleep and if this stage is shortened or never achieved, the immune system is likely to weaken. The protective antibodies aren’t manufactured and the proteins that protect us against a host of infections (called cytokines) are not manufactured.
Once you do get sick, a lack of sleep also determines how fast you recover from the viral or bacterial infection. People with sleep loss take a lot longer to recover.
With other factors taken into account, such as age, health, smoking, etc. Statistically sleep is an overwhelmingly strong predictor for susceptibility to the cold virus.
Experts recommend that adults get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night to stay physically and mentally healthy, though many people claim they can function on much less.
Since infectious illness (i.e., influenza and pneumonia) remain one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States, the current data suggest that focusing on our sleep length and quality will yield great results and improve our health!