If the quality of sleep is good, even if you sleep less than the recommended eight hours, your immune system is not affected
How much we sleep is essential for our health, but also how do you sleep makes a difference. An almost banal observation that we deduce from our daily experience, to which a new study now adds a bit of scientific solidity. Researchers investigated the effects of limited sleep duration on the immune system and found that even sleeping less than the fateful eight hours recommended one can enjoy optimal health, provided that the rest is of good quality. If, on the other hand, you sleep badly, as well as little, it increases significantly the risk of contracting respiratory diseases caused by viruses, such as colds and flu.
The study followed 1,318 new army recruits before, during and after their twelve-week military training. During this period the participants they slept an average of two hours less compared to what they did in their “civil” life; despite being deprived of their usual rest, half of them reported having slept well. In general the recruits turned out almost three times more prone to respiratory infectionsbut looking at the data, it was found that the reduction in sleep had negative effects only on those who had slept badly. For the same number of hours slept, a good quality sleep acted instead as a protection against these diseases.
“Here are two key messages,” comments one of the authors, Professor Neil P Walsh of Liverpool John Moores University, “First, that a reduction in sleep it can lead to getting sick more often. Second, and most surprising, that we can live even with reduced sleep if it is quality sleep. This is a very useful message in our fast-paced world, where sleep is often sacrificed to make room for commitments and occupations ”.
The study was published in the journal Sleep.