Lack of sleep hinders vaccines: Study

QMI Agency


It's common knowledge that getting a good night's sleep is important for your health, but a new study suggests it might even be necessary for vaccines to work.

Not getting enough sleep actually reduces the effectiveness of vaccines, because sleep is key to building the body's immune responses, researchers in California found.

"With the emergence of our 24-hour lifestyle, longer working hours, and the rise in the use of technology, chronic sleep deprivation has become a way of life for many," lead author Aric Prather, a clinical health psychologist, said in a press release.

The study, out of the University of California in San Francisco, looked at 125 healthy adults between 40 and 60. Researchers gave the participants a standard three-dose hepatitis-B vaccine over a period of eight months.

During that time, the participants kept sleep diaries detailing how many hours of rest they got each night. Some also wore electronic sleep monitors.

At various intervals before and after the vaccinations, doctors monitored their antibody levels.

Those who slept fewer than six hours a night on average were far less likely to mount the necessary antibody response to the vaccine. They were 11.5 times more likely to be unprotected by the vaccine that those who slept seven hours or more.

"While there is more work to be done in this area, in time physicians and other health-care professionals who administer vaccines may want to consider asking their patients about their sleep patterns, since lack of sleep may significantly affect the potency of the vaccination," Prather said.

The study was published in the journal Sleep.