New York Times (08.07.12)
People who sleep less may be less likely to benefit from a vaccine, new research suggests.
In the observational study, 125 healthy adults underwent vaccination against hepatitis B virus: two doses one month apart, followed six months later by a booster. During the seven-day period surrounding each injection, participants wore devices to monitor their sleep and kept sleep diaries. After the second and third shots, scientists measured the levels of HBV antibodies in the subjects’ blood.
After adjusting for other factors that affect antibody response, the team found that sleep duration, as measured by the monitoring devices, predicted the blood level of HBV antibodies following the second injection. Sleep duration also predicted the likelihood of sufficient HBV antibody levels for clinical protection after the booster.
The effect was modest, said lead author Aric A. Prather, a University of California-San Francisco clinical health psychologist. "The vaccine works for almost everyone, irrespective of their sleep, and there’s no evidence that changing your sleep pattern improves vaccination response," he said. "What was most surprising to us was that shorter sleep duration predicted a person’s likelihood of being protected six months later."
[PNU editor’s note: The authors wrote in their conclusion, "Short sleep duration in the natural environment may negatively affect in vivo antibody responses to novel antigens, providing a possible explanation for observed associations of poor sleep with increased susceptibility to infectious disease." The study, "Sleep and Antibody Response to Hepatitis B Vaccination," was published in Sleep (2012;35(8):1063-1069).]