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Getting less sleep may equal more colds

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New research finds that those who slept less than 7 hours per night were more likely to contract a cold than those who slept 8 hours or more. The average American adult gets 2 colds per year and children can catch as many as 10. Frequent hand-washing is the best way to prevent the spread of cold viruses, but a new study suggests that more sleep could help keep you healthy as well. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University studied the sleep habits of more than 150 young and middle-aged adults. Then they deliberately exposed the volunteers to the common cold virus. Results showed that people who slept less than seven hours per night were three times more likely to develop a cold as those who slept eight hours or more. Feeling well-rested didn't matter; it was the amount of time the participants slept each night that was the key. Poor sleepers who spent lots of time in bed awake were more than five times as likely to catch a cold as those who fell asleep right away. Research shows that good sleeping habits help support a healthy immune system, which keeps colds and other illnesses away.

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