Sheldon Cohen, a leading author of the study conducted at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa., said that lack of sleep can really make difference for people's susceptibility to common cold.
As much as 153 healthy men and women aged between 21 and 55 took part in the research to find how sleep deprivation may affect immune function. During the study, the researchers monitored the sleeping habits of the participants, including the time they spent asleep and quality of their rest for two weeks. Then all the participants were deliberately infected with the help of nasal drops containing rhinovirus.
For the next five days the researchers monitored the cold symptoms, like congestion, sneezing and other in all the volunteers. The blood samples were taken to find antibodies to rhinovirus.
The findings showed that those participants, who had less than 7 hours of sleep a day, were three times more likely to get cold in comparison to men and women who had 8 or more hours of sleep.
It was also found that sleep efficiency can also play an important role for people's susceptibility to common cold. Sleep efficiency is the quantity of sleep spent asleep in bed. Sleep efficiency of less than 80 percent is regarded as insomnia.The study revealed that participants with lesser sleep efficiency were four times more likely to get sick than those who had almost 100 percent of sleep efficiency.
It is known that lack of sleep may lead to certain changes in the immune system, such as the decrease in the number of killer T-cells, fighting with viruses and bacteria, and a protein that stimulates the growth of these cells. This explains why people deprived of sleep have more chances of getting ill.
Another factor that can make you more vulnerable to common cold is stress that may impair immune function and increase the susceptibility to other diseases.