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Healthy Living

Why You Might Want to Go to Bed Early Tonight

By Sheryl Kraft

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I don't know about you, but I always feel there's never enough time in the day. So, I end up staying up much later than I really should - catching up on emails, reading, straightening up the house - you name it. But those lost hours of sleep are not such a good idea.

While I was up late last night catching up on the Science Section of the New York Times, I came across a short article by Anahad O'Connor that made me want to jump into bed.

He writes of a study for The Archives of Internal Medicine about sleep and susceptibility to colds. The study found that sleep and immunity are tightly related. As a matter of fact, mammals that require the most sleep also produce greater levels of white blood cells - those cells that help fight disease.

And people who get less than seven hours a night were three times as likely to get a cold as people who got at least eight hours.

Protecting your immune system with more Zzzs sounds like a sensible approach, don't you think?

Are you getting enough sleep these days?

You might also like to read:
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Comments

I agree with what everyone here is saying. I always say (and it IS the truth) that I need not only my "beauty" sleep :), but I need my sleep to stay healthy. I know when I go for a not-so-long period without adequate sleep, I always end up with a cold...

I always envied people who require less sleep. But now I can feel more virtuous about my need for sleep. Rather than saying a need sleep because I'm a b%tch without it, I can say, I'm protecting my family from catching the cold I would surely have gotten had I not gotten my 8 hours.

I work the late shift for the newspaper and from now on I'm going to stop feeling guilty for sleeping later. :-)

I'm not much of a "natural" napper (my husband most def is...has been for years) but when my body needs one I know it and have one. The power nap, however, is something that I'll do from time to time. Ten minutes of purposeful sleep is so energizing. Nice post. Lots to consider.

I definitely need a lot of sleep and if I don't get my 8 hours and cold and flu season is around, I usually get sick. My husband, on the other hand, doesn't ever get sick or sleep much. Go figure!

This is so interesting. It makes sense theoretically but I've seen otherwise so many times. I have a friend who ALWAYS gets at least 8 hours and ALWAYS gets sick. I NEVER get enough sleep but I am often the only one in my family NOT to get sick (knock on wood)...

Roxanne, 8-10 hours of sleep is a wonderful luxury. I would love to be able to log that every night, but things like bathroom calls and being a very light sleeper get in the way!

Ruth, I adore naps, but rarely take the time to take them. I sometimes manage on a Saturday or Sunday, though. They always make me feel so refreshed. At about 3:00 each day, I fight my urge to just lay down...

I did a post on those (lucky) people who don't need much sleep (http://healthywomen.org/blogs/midlifematters/2009/08/how-much-sleep-do-you-need.html). It sounds like you just might be one of them who has that gene. I always hope I am, too, but when I get just 5 or 6 hours, I simply feel awful the whole day. Sigh.

I definitely don't get enough sleep. I'm a night owl. I read a recent study reported in either Science News or The New Scientist said that some people don't require the recommended eight hours. Their bodies actually work better with 5 to 6. (I believe they've even identified the gene behind it.) I'm hoping I'm one of those people.

I'm a big believer in naps. This post makes me feel virtuous about that. It's not that I'm lazy; I'm protecting myself from the swine flu.

I am a BIG sleeper. I'm not always successful at it (fall asleep fine, but if I wake up ... watch out), but I do regularly sleep 8-10 hours. That's the beauty of no commute. There is more time to sleep.

Yes, that is so true; I also wake up all through the night for the bathroom. Sure makes it hard to get a good night's sleep...but I do the best I can!

I am finding that getting enough sleep is more difficult as people age. I fall asleep fine but wake up several times during the night to pee. Sometimes it's hard to get back to sleep. Now I will lie in bed thinking about my immune system!

there never seems to be enough time in the day. definitely have gotten sick recently from not sleeping enough.

I've noticed too that a lack of sleep makes me more susceptible to colds.

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