Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

Font Size

Good Night’s Sleep Puts Colds to Bed

Sleeping 7 or More Hours a Night May Help Prevent the Common Cold
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Jan. 12, 2009 -- Getting a good night’s sleep may be one of the best ways to prevent the common cold.

A new study shows that people who sleep less than seven hours per night are three times more likely than those who sleep at least eight hours to catch a common cold after being exposed to a cold-causing virus.

Researchers say it’s been commonly thought that poor sleep increases your chances of coming down with the common cold, but until now there has been little scientific evidence to support that notion.

Sleep Fights Colds

In the study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers studied 153 healthy men and women. Each of the participants kept track of their sleeping habits for 14 days, noting how long and how well they slept the previous night as well as whether they felt rested.

After 14 days, the participants were quarantined, given nasal drops containing a cold-causing virus (rhinovirus), and monitored for five days for signs of a common cold.

The results showed that those who slept an average of less than seven hours per night were nearly three times more likely to develop a common cold than those who reported eight or more hours per night in the weeks leading up to the experiment.

Quality, Not Quantity Matters

But it wasn’t just about how much time they were spending in bed. Researcher Sheldon Cohen, PhD, of Carnegie Mellon University, and colleagues found the percentage of time spent actually asleep was especially important.

For example, those who spent 92% of their time in bed asleep were five and a half times more likely to develop a common cold than those who spent 98% or more of their time in bed sleeping.

Feeling rested, however, was not associated with getting a cold.

Researchers write that "these results strongly suggest the possibility of sleep playing a causal role in cold susceptibility."

Today on WebMD

hot toddy
15 tips to help you feel better.
man sneezing into elbow
Do echinacea and vitamin C really help a cold?
teen girl coughing
Get a good night’s rest with these remedies.
elder berry
Eat these to fight colds, flu, and more.
Natural Cold Flu Remedies Slideshow
cold weather
Allergy And Sinus Symptom Evaluator
Boy holding ear
woman receiving vaccine shot
woman with fever
Waking up from sleep
woman with sore throat