A good night’s sleep relieves the day’s tiredness. It heals your body but now scientists have discovered evidence that sleeping well may make you less susceptible to infections. But there’s a catch! Researchers found out that sleeping less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours is tied to a higher risk of catching an infection.
A good night’s nap can be a potent way to dodge sickness, according to a recent study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry. Too much of anything or too little of anything can prove to be fatal!
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Survey in Doctor’s Office
Forthun and her colleagues provided medical students with a questionnaire to hand out to the patients in the waiting rooms of the general practitioners’ offices where the students were working. The questionnaire asked people to describe their nap quality, the length of time they power nap, how good it feels to rest, and when they prefer to nap. The survey also asked if the patients had any recent infections or used any antibiotics in the past three months. It also contained a scale for identifying cases of chronic insomnia. Data were collected from 1,848 patients across Norway.
Result of the Survey
It was observed that the participants who accounted for napping more than 9 hours were 44% more likely to report an infection. Patients sleeping less than six hours a night or suffering from chronic insomnia were 27% more likely to require an antibiotic to fight the infection.
Dr. Ingeborg Forthun, corresponding author of the study, stated that they wanted to study the association between napping and infection among patients in primary care as the occurrence of power nap problems is higher than in the general population. Moreover, most of the previous observational studies have touched on the association in a sample of the general population. For instance, a study found that people deliberately infected with rhinovirus were less likely to catch a cold if they reported taking a healthy nap.
Conclusion of the Survey
Dr. Forthun said there is much evidence supporting the fact that infection can cause both poor napping and sleepiness, for which she is not surprised. But the direction of the relationship going in the other direction, where poor sleep may lead to a higher risk of vulnerability to infection, is something to take note of.
There was some form of bias in the study as people don’t have a perfect memory of sleep or health issues, and no clinical information was collected from the doctors who were treating the patients. Despite these errors, the study is a good representation of the population, in general, experiencing real-world conditions.
Due to the fast-moving world, sleep disturbances among the masses are common but treatable. It becomes burdensome for healthcare workers to identify insomnia among patients while treating them. So, increased awareness of the importance of sleep will promote the well-being of people while helping physicians devote their time to treating more serious diseases.
Tips for a Better Sleep
As we have all studied the popular dictum, ‘Prevention is better than cure, in our biology books in school, here are some tips to have a good night’s sleep:
- Stick to a sleep routine.
- Limit long and irregular day naps.
- Restrain caffeine intake.
- Stay away from blue light 2 hours before sleep.
- Have a light dinner.
- Unload the day’s stress and involve in any hobby.
- Increase bright light exposure during the day.
- Set bedroom temperature to 20 degree Celsius.
- Optimise bedroom environment.
- Avoid alcohol and cigarettes.
- Take a relaxing shower before sleep.
- Buy a comfortable bed, mattress, and pillow.