Poor Sleep Found to Suppress the Antiviral Response -and Increase the Risk of Infection


Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
“It’s very nice to see an experiment looking at sleep as an important regulator for specific antiviral immune responses”

The evidence suggesting that poor sleep makes you more susceptible to coming down with a cold has been mostly anecdotal - but now it's pretty solid...This study suggests -at least to my mind - that poor sleep probably leaves people with ME/CFS/FM open to reactivation of latent herpesviruses...

Of the 164 participants, 124 received the actual virus instead of the control, and 48 of them got sick. By checking the sleep duration of the sick participants, researchers report in the current issue of SLEEP that individuals who slept fewer than 5 hours a night were 4.5 times more likely to get sick than those who slept 7 hours or more. Those who slept 5 to 6 hours were 4.2 times more likely to get sick, but those who slept 6 to 7 hours per night were at no greater risk of catching the cold than those who slept 7 hours or more, suggesting that there’s a sleep threshold for potent immune defense.


“Sleep often takes a back seat to other health behaviors like nutrition and exercise,” Prather says. “I think this [experiment] provides some really clear evidence for those people who get less than 5 or 6 hours of sleep—there really is a clear biological cost.”

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