Enough Sleep Helps Prevent Common Cold

October 23, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. cold / koʊld / (n.) – an illness that causes coughing and sneezing
Example: I caught a cold because I got wet in the rain.

2. consecutive / kənˈsɛk yə tɪv / (adj.) – following one another without any pause or break
Example: It has been raining for four consecutive days.

3. specifically / spɪˈsɪfɪkli / (adv.) – in a very clear or particular manner
Example: The doctor specifically advised the patient to rest for two weeks.

4. preventive / prɪˈvɛn tɪv / (adj.) – referring to anything that stops something
Example: I take preventive medicine for malaria.

5. contact / ˈkɒn tækt / (n.) – the state in which people interact with other people
Example: You should avoid contact with sick people.


Read the text below.
Researchers found a new health benefit of getting enough sleep—it prevents the development of the common cold. This is according to a study published in the journal Sleep.

The study, which involved 164 healthy men and women, aimed to identify how sleep affects the development of a cold. For seven consecutive days, researchers monitored the participants’ sleep using sleep diaries and a wrist actigraph, a device that measures a person’s movement to determine his or her sleep-wake cycle. Researchers then exposed the participants to a virus that causes the common cold. The participants were monitored again for five days to determine who would develop the illness.

Results of the study showed that, of all the participants, 29% caught a cold. It also revealed that 39% of those who slept for less than six hours developed the illness. On the other hand, only 18% of the participants who slept for more than six hours caught a cold.

According to researchers, one possible reason behind this result is the influence of sleep on one’s immune system. Sleep specifically helps the immune system fight infections in the body, the researchers believe.

Aside from getting enough sleep, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested other ways to prevent the common cold. These preventive measures include regularly washing one’s hands and avoiding contact with people who are sick. Another way to fight off the common cold is to avoid touching one’s nose and eyes, as viruses can enter the body through these organs.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What are your thoughts about the results of the study?
·         Do you think research on common diseases should be a priority? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         If you were a researcher, what illness would you want to research on? Please explain your answer.
·         What other diseases do you think need more research?

October 23, 2015