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Scrimping on sleep hampers vaccine effectiveness--study

By Vidisha Rana Subscribe to RSS | August 5th 2012 | Views:
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US researchers have found a direct link between sleep and the effectiveness of vaccines.

The general consensus is that adults require between six and eight hours of sleep per night for optimal functioning of body and spirit.

According to experts, healthy adults who get less than six hours of shut eye are less likely to respond to vaccination against hepatitis B than their well rested counterparts.

Lead researcher, Aric Prather, PhD, a clinical health psychologist and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of California, Berkeley stated, “I expected to see a relationship between sleep and antibody production. But I was surprised at just how dramatic it was, that some people were left unprotected.”

He added, "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. These findings should help raise awareness in the public health community about the clear connection between sleep and health."

Link between sleep and effectiveness of vaccines examined

In a bid to determine whether poor sleep hampers the effectiveness of vaccines, the researchers conducted a study. The focus was to examine the immune response to the hepatitis B vaccine in health adults.

The researchers recruited a group of 125 men and women between the ages of 40 and 60 and tracked them over a period of six-months.

People with any underlying medical condition or on medication that could interfere with sleep or react to a vaccine were excluded from the study.

The subjects were given a three-dose hepatitis B vaccine, which consists of an initial dose, a booster one month later and a final shot at six months.

For the purpose of the study, the participants wore a wrist device known as an actigraph to monitor sleep at night. In addition, they kept sleep diaries with details of duration, efficiency and quality of sleep.

"We measured antibody response just before the second vaccine and just before the third, and then six months after the series was over," said Prather.

Outcome of the study

It was noted that volunteers who slept fewer hours on an average were far less likely to mount antibody responses to the vaccine.

People who slept less than six hours were 12 times more likely to be unprotected by the vaccine than those who got more than seven hours of shut eye.

However, only sleep duration and not the quality of sleep affected the amount of antibodies produced in response to the vaccine.

"Based on our findings and laboratory evidence, physicians and other health professionals who are administering vaccines may want to consider asking their patients about their sleep patterns first, since a lack of sleep may affect the efficacy of the vaccine," Prather said.

The study appeared this week in the journal Sleep.

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