Sleep quality more important than how long you sleep: study


Don’t stress if you don’t get the seven-to-nine hours of shuteye recommended — as long as you aren’t tossing and turning all night.

A new study published in the academic journal Sleep suggests that a good night’s sleep is more important than the duration of sleep.

Professor Neil Walsh’s team from Liverpool John Moores University discovered that those who don’t get enough or quality sleep are about three times more likely to catch a cold.

But good quality sleep — falling asleep quickly and not tossing and turning through the night — overpowers a short snooze.

“Sleep is important for mental and physical health, including our ability to fight infection,” Walsh said. 

Their findings, they said, should “change the way we should think about sleep and health.”

The researchers accompanied 1,318 new recruits to the military for 12 weeks to track their sleep patterns and health before training and after joining the armed forces, where the participants followed a rigid sleep regimen.

The military recruits found that on average, they slept two hours less after joining the military, and more than half of those who slept less said they were getting a good night’s sleep.

A decrease in sleep led to respiratory infections in participants — but those with a poor quality slumber had an increase in their risk of infection, the study found. 

Getting high-quality Z’s protected against respiratory illness, even with a shorter time spent sleeping. 

Researchers were sure to account for factors that might play into catching a cold, such as time of year and smoking. 

Professor Walsh noted that these findings should be useful in a world where people tend to forego bedtime for other priorities. 

“There are two very key messages here: firstly that restricted sleep patterns can result in more frequent illness,” he said. “Secondly, and more surprisingly, that sleeping well can trump sleeping long in terms of our immunity to illness.”

The National Sleep Foundation suggests adults get an average of seven-to-nine hours of sleep every night. 

Poor quality sleep could be responsible for more than just sickness. A recent study from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) found there may be a link between poor sleep and several mental health disorders, including anxiety, Tourette syndrome and autism. Another study from the University of California, Berkeley, found that if you are deprived of quality sleep, you might act in more selfish ways.



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