Lack of Sleep Affects Potency of Vaccines
A new study by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) shows that poor amount of sleep can reduce the effectiveness of vaccines. It reveals a great association between sleep duration and vaccine immune response.
"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 Americans," said lead author Aric Prather, a clinical health psychologist and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at UCSF and UC Berkeley. "These findings should help raise awareness in the public health community about the clear connection between sleep and health."
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Through this study, the researchers want to highlight the fact that poor sleep makes humans more susceptible to illnesses such as upper respiratory infections. Sleeping for less than six hours was linked to an 11.5 fold increase of not being protected from a vaccine, compared to those who sleep regular seven hours.
In order to explore whether sleep duration, sleep efficiency, and sleep quality assessed at home and not in a controlled sleep lab , would impact immune processes important in the protection against infection, the researchers investigated the antibody response to hepatitis B vaccinations on adults in good health.
The researchers conducted the study on 125 Pennsylvania residents which consisted of 70 women and 55 men belonging to the age group 40 and 60 who were non smokers. Each participant was administered the standard three-dose hepatitis B vaccine; the first and second dose were administered a month apart, followed by a booster dose at six months. Antibody levels were measured prior to the second and third vaccine injection and six months after the final vaccination to determine whether participants had mounted a "clinically protective response."
The participants were asked to complete their diaries detailing their bedtime, wake up time and sleep quality. And 88 subjects wore electronic sleep monitors known as actigraphs.
The researchers found that people who slept fewer than six hours on average per night were far less likely to mount antibody responses to the vaccine and thus were far more likely (11.5 times) to be unprotected by the vaccine than people who slept more than seven hours on average. Sleep quality did not affect response to vaccinations.
The researchers report that of the 125 participants, 18 did not receive adequate protection from the vaccine. Sleeping fewer than six hours conferred a significant risk of being unprotected as compared with sleeping more than seven hours per night.
The researchers stress that sleep plays a vital role in the regulation of the immune system. Lack of sleep, may have detrimental effects on the immune system that are integral to vaccine response.
Prather who would shortly join UCSF faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry said, "Based on our findings and existing laboratory evidence, sleep may belong on the list of behavioral risk factors that influence vaccination efficacy. 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."