Why Lack of Sleep Promotes Colds

  • 12 Jan 2009
  • Reading time 2 mins
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A lack of sleep has been linked to many things including weight gain, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, depression, anxiety, accidents, ADHD, cravings, addiction and relapse. But now a study, in which volunteers had the cold virus sprayed up their noses for $800 found that those who habitually slept less than seven hours, and especially those who slept fitfully, were several times more likely to catch the cold than habitual eight hour sleepers. (Cohen S et al. Archives of Internal Medicine, Jan 2009)

By the way, if you do catch a cold I take 2 grams of vitamin C immediately, followed by 1 gram an hour or two, and drink freshly pressed carrot and ginger juice and lots of water. It’s usually gone in 8 hours.

If sleeping is a problem for you I recommend you read my Special Report How to Get a Good Night's Sleep free to Members. One of the best aids to sleeping that we get feedsback on is John Levine’s Silence of Peace CD. He has composed music that switches your brain out of beta-waves (stimulation) into alpha-waves (relaxation). It really works. I often have 30 minute power naps listening to this.

The other thing that helps you switch off is GABA. GABA is both a relaxing neurotransmitter (alcohol promotes GABA) and an amino acid. In the US you can buy it over the counter. In the EU it’s banned because some kitchen chemists were making the recreational drug GHB from it. It’s made from the amino acid taurine and glutamine. The mineral magnesium is also calming, as are the herbs hops, passion flower. The strongest herb is Valerian. You need about 600mg. Combinations of these can be especially helpful if you find it hard to switch off.

But there are some basic sleep hygiene tips that also help:

Keep the bedroom quiet and dark. Wear comfortable clothing to bed. Do not have a big meal before bed. Keep artificial light to a minimum in the bedroom. (Being exposed to bright light can turn off production of melatonin, which peaks at around 1.00 am. Have a light with a low-wattage bulb in the bedroom or hallway in case you need to get up in the night.) Exercise regularly, but not after 7pm. Avoid coffee after noon and alcohol in the evening.

But what have you found helps you to sleep, or cures a cold, for that matter?