Sleep May Be Best Prevention for Cold, Flu

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September 7, 2009

If you're looking to avoid the cold or the flu this fall, make time for sleep! Studies show that sleep deprivation has an adverse effect on immune function, and chronic sleep loss can increase an individual's vulnerability to infectious diseases. Past Sleep in America polls conducted by the National Sleep Foundation indicate that children and the elderly, identified as high-risk populations and first in line for the flu vaccine, are often sleep-deprived. Poll data show that on average, newborns to l0 year olds don't even meet the low range of recommended hours of sleep each night, while two-thirds of older adults say they suffer from frequent sleep problems, including insomnia, which often prevent them from getting a good night's sleep. Schedule sleep like any other daily activity. Put it on your "to-do list" and cross it off every night. But don't make it the thing you do only after everything else is done — stop doing other things so you get the sleep you need. Your health depends on it.