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Why Less Sleep Could Mean More Winter Colds

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Do you feel like you get sick more often than other people? It may be connected to your sleep

Coming down with the common cold isn’t on many people’s to-do list. Between hoarding the entire box of tissues at work by day and sniffling to the point of annoying your own self at night, winter colds, especially, are pretty inconvenient viral infections.

While frequent virus exposure and frigid temperatures certainly don’t make avoiding the common cold easier, recent research suggests that poor sleep quality is a key reason you may be sniffling all winter.

Less Sleep Can Mean Less Immunity

It’s no secret that achieving a good night’s sleep has plenty of benefits for our health, but getting a blissful night’s rest with no interruption can seem like more of a dream than a reality — just ask a third of US adults who report getting less than the recommended amount of sleep each night. Even though it can be hard to stay asleep at night, it’s still important to take it seriously — especially during the Winter cold season.

According to a 2009 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, adults who have poor sleep habits and spend a shorter amount of time sleeping overall don’t have a high enough immunity to ward off the common cold. The study required over a hundred healthy men and women to report their sleep times for two weeks. The group was then purposely exposed to the rhinovirus — the virus that causes the common cold — and were isolated and monitored after. The results: both the men and women who struggled with getting the right amount of shut-eye couldn’t fight as hard against the cold after being exposed to the virus.

Top Tips For Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

If getting a full night’s rest and steering clear of the dreaded Winter cold was that easy, everyone would do it — but sleep deprivation can be brought on by a few different factors.

Not getting enough sunlight exposure, consuming too much caffeine or sugar throughout the day, and dealing with an influx of stress are all reasons people may have trouble getting enough sleep at night. Health issues may also be a reason — just ask those who suffer from deviated septums, snoring, mouth-breathing, and congestion.

So how can you get some good shut-eye even if you deal with these issues? Expose yourself to the sunlight in the morning and throughout the day (even if it’s cold!), figure out the best relaxation methods for your life (like meditation), and quit with the caffeine early in the afternoon. For those who suffer from nighttime congestion because of a deviated septum, allergies, or because you’re already dealing with a cold, try Breathe Right nasal strips — a drug-free, easy-to-use sleep aid that relieves nasal congestion, stuffy nose, and snoring — so you can breathe better, then sleep better!