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Sleeping too much or too little can make you sick; know how

Written by  Shgun S -- March 04th 2023 04:05 PM
Sleeping too much or too little can make you sick; know how

Sleeping too much or too little can make you sick; know how

Washington (US), March 4: A good night's sleep can solve a variety of problems, but new research suggests that sleeping well may make you less susceptible to infection.

Researchers at the University of Bergen enlisted the help of medical students working in doctors' offices to distribute short questionnaires to patients, inquiring about sleep quality and recent infections. Patients who reported sleeping too little or too much were more likely to have a recent infection, and patients who had chronic sleep problems were more likely to require antibiotics.

Dr Ingeborg Forthun, corresponding author of the study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry said, "most previous observational studies have looked at the association between sleep and infection in a sample of the general population."

 "We wanted to assess this association among patients in primary care, where we know that the prevalence of sleep problems is much higher than in the population at large."

There is already evidence that sleep problems increase the risk of infection: in a previous study, people who were deliberately infected with rhinovirus were less likely to catch a cold if they reported getting enough sleep. Sleep disorders are common and treatable, and if a link to infection and a mechanism can be established, it may be possible to reduce antibiotic use and protect people from infections before they occur. However, experimental studies cannot replicate real-life situations.

Forthun and her colleagues gave a questionnaire to medical students and asked them to distribute it to patients in the waiting rooms of general practitioners' surgeries where the students were working. In total, 1,848 surveys were collected throughout Norway. People were asked to describe their sleep quality (how long they typically sleep, how well they feel they sleep, and when they prefer to sleep) as well as whether they had any infections or used antibiotics in the previous three months. The survey also included a scale for detecting cases of chronic insomnia disorder.

Risk of infection has increased

The researchers discovered that patients who reported sleeping less than six hours a night were 27% more likely to report an infection, while those who slept more than nine hours were 44% more likely to report one. Less than six hours of sleep per night, or chronic insomnia, increased the likelihood of needing an antibiotic to treat an infection.



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