By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – When you’re getting sick with a cold or the flu, doctors often tell you to get plenty of rest. Now German researchers have discovered at least one way that sleep can help fight germs.

They studied T-cells, a type of immune cell that fights infections by spotting other cells that have been invaded by viruses, attaching to those cells and destroying them.

But researchers found that when volunteers infected with a common virus were deprived of sleep, even for just one night, they had higher levels of hormones that interfere with the T-cells’ ability to glom onto infected cells. The T-cells were also less potent than those in volunteers who gotten a good night’s sleep.

So if you want to give your body the best chance at fending off germs, try to get adequate, good quality sleep, and avoid chronic stress which can have the same effect on your T-cells.

Dr. Mallika Marshall


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