If you're loading up on vitamin C and zinc to stave off the sniffles, you should try an earlier bedtime instead. People who regularly sleep six hours or less each night are four times more likely to get a cold than people who sleep just an hour longer, a new study finds.
Short sleep was more important than any other factor in predicting who would get sick after exposure to the cold virus, researchers told NBC News.
"It's almost alarming how strong the effects are," says Aric Prather, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco and lead author of the study, published Monday in the journal Sleep.
Sleep was more important than any other factor, including age, stress or income level, in predicting who would get sick after being exposure to the cold virus, the researchers say.