I have recently received a handful of e-mails asking for nutrition-related immunity-boosting tips to prevent -- or fight off already existing -- colds.
Would an extra glass of orange juice help? What about some yogurt with probiotics? Zinc lozenges?
My answer is usually the same: "The most important you can do is get sufficient sleep. Zinc capsules and vitamin C do not override exhaustion."
Alas, The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting on a study that reveals just how important sleep is for fighting off colds.
Lead author Sheldon Cohen of Carnegie Mellon University confirms that "the longer you sleep, the better off you are [and] the less susceptible you are to colds."
Volunteer subjects were handsomely paid to "have cold viruses sprayed up their noses, then wait five days in a hotel to see if they got sick."
I hope it was a five-star one with all perks included!
Since sleep is one of the top immunity boosters, it is not too surprising that "the people who slept less than seven hours a night in the weeks before they were exposed to the virus were three times more likely to catch a cold than those who slept eight hours or more."