Why You Absolutely, Positively Need 7 Hours of Sleep

A very valid reason to sleep in a little bit later.



Prepare to cringe: For this study I’m about to tell you about, 164 men and women had a live common cold virus sprayed directly up their noses! So cringe-worthy, right? And what researchers found was that, of those 164 people, those who regularly skimped on sleep were way more likely to actually catch a cold, NPR reports. So, if you were thinking about staying up late to watch an entire season of Friends tonight, you might want to rethink your plans.

Here’s how the study, published in the journal Sleep, worked: Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco recruited 164 healthy men and women with an average age of 30 years and studied their sleep patterns, with the help of sleep diaries and a Fitbit-like tool, for a week.

Then, the nose-spraying happened. Afterward, they quarantined all the participants and waited to see who got sick. They found that the folks who’d averaged five or six hours of sleep a night the week prior were much more likely — four times more likely, in fact — to develop a cold than those who’d clocked at least seven hours.

More research needs to be done before anyone can explain how exactly sleep protects us from catching a cold, but you don’t have to tell us twice to set our alarms a little bit later. And if you were in search of an excuse to finally start turning in earlier, avoiding bloodshot eyes, a runny nose and the destruction of your will to live just might be it.

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