More sleep boosts vaccine effectiveness: study

March 14, 2023 – Want to get maximum protection from vaccines? A new study recommends getting at least 7 hours of sleep before and after vaccination.

Compared to those who slept at least 7 hours, those who slept less than 6 hours in the days surrounding the vaccine produced significantly fewer antibodies that recognize and kill viruses and bacteria in the body.

Since the effectiveness of many vaccines decreases over time, the boost essentially extends the vaccine’s protection — up to 2 months, the researchers found.

“Good sleep not only enhances but can also extend the duration of vaccine protection,” said researcher Eve Van Cauter, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago. statement.

The study was published on Monday Current Biology, reanalyzed previous research examining the relationship between sleep and the effectiveness of flu and hepatitis vaccines. The researchers sought to understand the connection because people appeared to develop different levels of immunity after receiving the same COVID-19 vaccine. Sleep studies on COVID vaccines are not yet available, so the researchers decided to evaluate existing studies and translate those findings to what is known about COVID vaccines.

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“The way to stimulate the immune system is the same whether we use an mRNA vaccine against COVID-19 or a vaccine against influenza, hepatitis, typhoid or pneumococcal. This is a prototypical antibody or vaccine response, and so we believe we can generalize it to COVID,” said researcher Michael Irwin, a UCLA expert who specializes in the relationship between psychological processes, the nervous system and immunity. CNN.

When the researchers looked at vaccine response in different groups, the effect of sleep was greatest among men and those aged 18 to 60. The researchers say more research is needed on the effects on women, as changes in their hormone levels affect the immune system.

They also found that the effectiveness of the vaccine was not as dramatically affected by sleep loss in people 65 and older. According to the authors, the reason for this is that older people already tend to sleep less than young people.

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The findings are important because they offer ways for people to modify their own behavior to improve their health and immunity, Van Cauter said.

“If you look at the variation in the protection provided by the COVID-19 vaccines — people with pre-existing conditions are less protected, men are less protected than women, and people who are obese are less protected than people who are not obese,” he said. . “These are all factors that the individual has no control over, but can modify their sleep.”