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Good sleep boosts the power of vaccines: study

“Good sleep not only amplifies but may also extend the duration of protection of the vaccine."

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(Pixabay via Pexels)

By Pol Allingham via SWNS

Good sleep boosts the power of vaccines, suggests a new study.

Scientists hope the findings will offer people some control over their immunity.

People getting less than six hours of sleep a night produce significantly fewer antibodies than those who clock over seven.

The deficit in the immune response is the equivalent of antibodies waning after two months, according to researchers from the University of Chicago and French National Institute of Health.

Men consistently faced the consequences of poor sleep, but its impact on women varied. Researchers put this down to female sex hormones fluctuating.

Senior author Eve Van Cauter, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, said: “Good sleep not only amplifies but may also extend the duration of protection of the vaccine."

Cartoon depicting the effects of insufficient sleep on vaccination. (Spiegel et al via SWNS)

“When you see the variability in the protection provided by the COVID-19 vaccines—people with pre-existing conditions are less protected, men are less protected than women, and obese people are less protected than people who don't have obesity.

“Those are all factors that an individual person has no control over, but you can modify your sleep."

Poor sleep weakened the antibodies in adults aged 18 to 60 more than over-65s.

Researchers were unsurprised by this because older adults generally sleep less anyway, meaning there is less of an impact on antibodies.

Results revealed the same pattern when sleep was measured with motion-detecting wristwatches, in sleep labs, and by self-reported evaluations.

The effect was more substantial in studies using objective measures of sleep. Scientists added this was likely because participants are “notoriously bad” at estimating the amount of shut-eye they get.

For the study, the team re-analyzed and summarized seven investigations into viral infections influenza and hepatitis A and B.

They compared the antibody response for those who slept a “normal” amount, between seven and nine hours, with “short sleepers” who managed under six.

Differences between under and over-65s, and between genders, were assessed in the Current Biology study.

Lead author Dr. Karine Spiegel, French National Institute of Health and Medicine, said: “We know from immunology studies that sex hormones influence the immune system.

“In women, immunity is influenced by the state of the menstrual cycle, the use of contraceptives, and by menopause and post-menopausal status, but unfortunately, none of the studies that we summarise had any data about sex hormone levels.

“We need to understand the sex differences, which days around the time of vaccination are most important, and exactly how much sleep is needed so that we can give guidance to people,

“We are going to be vaccinating millions and millions of people in the next few years, and this is an aspect that can help maximize protection.”

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