Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Prevent colds? Go To Bed!

Through the years, there have been volumes written on how to prevent the common cold. There are some people who swear by things like zinc and other "natural" or herbal therapies. There's even this pretty good article which outlines tips like washing your hands and keeping household surfaces clean.

On Monday, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh shared something that is very simple to prevent catching a cold - Get some sleep, Dude! It's kind of been conventional wisdom which has said that those who slept more would probably fight off infection better (Reuters).
"Although sleep's relationship with the immune system is well-documented, this is the first evidence that even relatively minor sleep disturbances can influence the body's reaction to cold viruses," [Sheldon] Cohen [a researcher at Carnegie Mellon] said in a statement. "It provides yet another reason why people should make time in their schedules to get a complete night of rest."
In this study, they took about 150 people and locked them in a hotel for five days after infecting them with the cold virus. Now, we'll never find out, but I wonder how did the people with less sleep keep awake those extra hours during those five days - Hmmm? Inquiring minds want to know.

Anyway, those with less sleep developed more cough and cold symptoms verses those who had more sleep. So, I know what you're asking. Why am I up late typing this post when I could be sleeping and preventing future colds? Maybe it is time to go to bed. I mean, I am a primary care doctor. I should be all about prevention, right? hehe


Mary said...

Ahh, so that's why I never get sick! Hee hee. Also- cute cartoon! It made me giggle. =)

Muddy said...

As I sit here with some sort of crud my daughter passed on to me the other day, I'll have to ponder how much sleep I got in the days before becoming contaminated. Hmmm...

Just poking my head in saying hello :)