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Looking to give your immune system a boost? Catholic Heath sleep experts suggest starting with a good night’s sleep.

Studies show that people who get less than seven hours of sleep each night are almost three times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept more than seven hours. Additionally, those with fragmented sleep that often happens with insomnia, sleep apnea and snoring are five times more likely to develop a cold.

“Poor quality sleep or shorter sleep duration in the weeks preceding an exposure to a rhinovirus—which causes the common cold—were associated with lower resistance to illness,” said Catholic Health Sleep Services System Director Brendan Duffy. “Also, maintaining a strong immune system is vital today as more people obtain their COVID-19 vaccines. Healthy sleep will optimize their immune response to the vaccine.”

In addition to getting at least seven hours of sleep each night, Duffy noted the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) offers several tips that help improve the quality of sleep we get.

  • Each day, go to sleep and wake up at the same time, including weekends. It’s important for your body to have a regular sleep schedule.
  • Set a relaxing bedtime routine, such as listening to calming music, reading a book or taking a warm bath.
  • Create a sleep-friendly bedroom. Turn off electronic devices an hour before bed and sleep in a cool, dark room.
  • Exercise regularly. A low-impact fitness program, like walking, swimming or yoga, is helpful for improving sleep.

For those struggling to get a quality night’s sleep, Catholic Health offers an array of sleep services at St. Charles Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, St. Catherine of Siena Hospital, Mercy Hospital and St. Joseph Hospital. In addition, the Good Samaritan Pediatric Sleep Center in Babylon—which was recently refurbished—is devoted to the treatment of children in need of sleep studies.

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