Just one more hour of shut-eye can prevent the common cold

There are more medical myths about the common cold than just about anything else out there.

I've heard folks say everything from a blend of honey and onions to drinking beer can cure a cold. The first is gross, but harmless; the second can make your cold worse as alcohol will weaken your immune system.

But there's one bit of advice you've probably heard at least 1,000 times that really does work: Get some rest.

It's not only the best immune-booster for beating the cold. It can also do something even better... stop you from ever getting sick in the first place!

A remarkable new study reveals the raw power sleep has on your immune system, and how missing even just a single hour of shut-eye a night can send your odds of getting sick skyrocketing.

In the study, 164 men and women ranging from 18 up to 55 were given devices to wear that tracked their sleep for a week. Then, they were locked up in hotel rooms where researchers put drops containing the rhinovirus into each volunteer's nose.

Of course, being exposed doesn't mean you'll get sick. You're exposed to germs all the time, and -- hopefully -- most of the time you never know it, because a healthy immune system wipes them out.

And in the new study, the folks least likely to get sick -- the ones with the strongest immune systems -- were those who got at least seven hours of sleep per night.

The difference wasn't even close.

Those who got six hours of sleep a night -- a level that has sadly become normal for millions of Americans -- were 420 percent more likely to become infected than those who got seven hours.

And folks who got five hours or less were an astounding 450 percent more likely to become infected.

That's the healing power of sleep for you, and it does so much more than fight the common cold. Sleep can also help you to beat any number of viruses and will even protect your vital organs, including your heart and brain.

If you've been falling short, it's time to make some changes -- and for some simple tips to help you get the sleep you need, read this free report from my House Calls archives.