At least, that’s what the team led by Neil Walsh from John Moores University in Liverpool, who conducted research into sleep quality among 1,318 recruits. The results of the study have been published in the scientific journal Sleep.
One of the conclusions the researchers draw is that people who don’t get enough (and poor) sleep are about three times more likely to catch a cold. “Sleep is important for our mental and physical health, including reducing the chance of being struck by a virus.”
For twelve weeks, the researchers analyzed the recruits’ sleep patterns. This included looking at the effect their sleep patterns had on their health. Most people who were trained as soldiers reported that they slept an average of two hours less per night after joining the army. It is striking that more than half of the recruits who slept less did indicate that their night’s sleep (i.e. its quality) had improved.
Walsh and his team also conclude that poor sleep quality means an increased risk of infection. Of course it is not the case that you immediately run the risk of catching a cold if you sleep badly. There are several factors that play a role, such as an (un)healthy lifestyle and the time of year.