If you want to skip the misery that comes with fighting a seasonal cold or flu, new research explains why sleep is some of the best preventive medicine.
We already knew that not getting enough sleep can lead to an increased risk of getting sick, but Nathaniel Watson, a neurologist and sleep specialist at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said this new research helps explain why.
Sleeping poorly can block specific genetic processes in the cells that make up your immune system, which is responsible for fighting off infections and disease, according to the new study.
“Your immune system is not functioning the way it was meant to when you’re sleep deprived,” Watson said.
This study is the first one that Watson and his colleagues are aware of that looks at what happens to the immune system’s DNA when you’re not getting adequate sleep.
“It’s further evidence of how important sleep is to human health and physiology,” Watson said.
Just an hour of lost sleep can cause cellular damage
The researchers followed 11 pairs of identical twins for the study. One twin reported sleeping at least seven hours per night, while the other slept approximately one hour…