Ever wondered why you woke up the next morning, feeling rotten and showing signs of a cold coming on?

A team of researchers from UC San Francisco and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center  have discovered that there could be a link between a lack of sleep and the reason behind you getting sick.

These findings were published in the Sleep journal; they found that those who got less than six hours of sleep a night were more likely to catch a cold than those who managed to sleep for seven hours or more.

164 adults were gathered throughout the course of two months for health screenings, questionnaires and interviews in order to formulate information about their alcohol and cigarette usage as well as stress and temperament.

The participants sleep patterns were monitored by for seven days by a watch-like sensor that recorded the quality and duration of their sleep throughout the night. This is similar to how some fitness trackers record your sleep.

How did they pull this off?

“The participants were quarantined to a hotel room, given a cold virus via nasal drops and were then monitored for a week, and the researchers collected daily mucus samples to see if the virus had taken hold.”

They found that those who slept less than six hours were 4.2 times more likely to get sick but those who slept for less than five hours were 4.5 times more likely to get sick, lead author of the study, Aric Prather said that:

“Sleep goes beyond all the other factors that were measured, it didn’t matter how old people were, their stress levels, their race, education or income. It didn’t matter if they were a smoker. With all those things taken into account, statistically sleep still carried the day and was an overwhelmingly strong predictor for susceptibility to the cold virus.”

Prather believes that this experiment, gives a better idea for the need of sleep as compared to other studies, as it shows people in a natural environment, opposed to studies that deprive the participants of sleep.

With lots of emphasise being placed on exercising and eating healthy in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, we tend to forget about how important getting the right amount of sleep is. You should be getting at least 40 winks of sleep per night.

Sources: Medical Daily, Sleep journal