NYC Sleep Specialists: Lack of Sleep and Colds - NYCVA
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NYC Sleep Specialists Explains the Link between Sleep and the Common Cold


sleep specialistsMost people are aware that not getting sufficient sleep results in an inability to think clearly. Most people (and this includes our NYC sleep specialists) are similarly aware that sleep deficiency has severe physical repercussions, slowing reaction time and coordination to the point that you are more than twice as likely to have a serious accident after a sleepless night than if you got sufficient rest.

But did you know that not getting enough sleep can increase your likelihood of getting a cold or the flu? And that when you get these illnesses, your sleep deficit can keep you sick longer, and keep you from getting better? These are the findings of important research published in the journal Sleep.

Lack of sleep increases your susceptibility to colds and flu

A number of studies have shown that the number of T-cells (lymphocytes or white blood cells that fight infection) go down if you are sleep deprived. At the same time, inflammatory cytokines (proteins that encourage rather than fight infection) goes up. The overall result of sleep deprivation, therefore, seems to be that the more sleep-deprived you are, the more harm is done to your immune system, and the greater risk you have of catching a cold or flu.

Worse, sleep deprivation also influences how effectively your body can fight a cold or flu once you catch it. One of the ways your body fights infection is with fever, and your body’s fever reaction is lowered when you don’t get enough sleep. Finally – and most alarming in a way – additional studies have shown that people who are sleep deprived actually get less protection from flu vaccines than those who are getting adequate amounts of sleep.

All of this should remind you how important it is to get enough sleep

If you’ve been reading the articles that the NYC sleep doctors have written on our New York Sleep-Wake Center website, you’ve seen a great deal of information about how profoundly sleep affects our mental and physical health. These latest studies, indicating that sleep deprivation affects even our ability to fight off a cold or a flu (let alone more serious illnesses), should only provide more incentive to make sure you’re getting the quality sleep that you need.

How can you improve the quality of your sleep, and thus stay healthier?

Pick up your telephone and call the NYC sleep specialists at 646-233-1838 and make an appointment for an initial consultation. During that visit, we’ll ask you questions about your sleep habits and possibly schedule a sleep study to find out if you have one or more sleep disorders or poor habits that are harming your health. If they find that you do, our Manhattan sleep center can help to eliminate it. If we find that you’ve just developed bad sleep habits, we can help you overcome them, too. Get better sleep – and stay healthier – by calling us today at 646-233-1838 or go online to request an appointment.

New York Cardiovascular Associates