An interesting new study has found that insufficient sleep (defined as less than 6 hours/night) around vaccination reduces the antibody response, rendering the vaccine less effective. This is very pertinent for Turn The Corner patients at this time of year, as we’re about to start providing flu vaccines, and more COVID vaccine boosters, at our Northcote and Brunswick clinics.
Vaccines work by presenting the immune system with the foreign material of a pathogen. The immune system reacts by making antibodies, however their population wanes over time. Eventually, another shot of vaccine is needed to boost the antibody count.
The problem with insufficient sleep is that the white blood cells that produce those antibodies are predominantly made by the body when a person is slumbering. Not enough sleep leads to fewer antibodies leads to a weaker immune system response.
The association seems robust in men, but more data are needed in women. Whilst similar effects in women are likely, hormone interference (driven by varying stages of the menstrual cycle, contraception and hormone-replacement therapies), muddies the waters from an analytical perspective. Hopefully more research there will be done soon.