Vaccines get All glory, but it’s really the immune system that does the heavy lifting. Indeed, people with weakened immune systems often benefit little from it. Vaccines, Aware of this, researchers have long thought that people sleep deprived There should also be little benefit from vaccines, as low gold is thought to reduce immune function. A new analysis shows that this is clearly the case—though only in men.
The immune system is metabolically costly for the body to operate. When resources are few, it may not work well when well supported. This is why people who are extremely cold for long periods of time get sick—their bodies are burning calories to stay warm that could otherwise be used to defend themselves.
Similarly, lack of sleep weakens the immune system, as many of its key components, such as the white blood cells that produce antibodies, are primarily made by the body when a person is asleep. Yet it is not clear whether poor sleep at the time of vaccination reduces the immune benefit.
Vaccines work by presenting the immune system with foreign material of the pathogen. The system responds by making antibodies, although these do not last forever – they circulate in large numbers soon after an actual or vaccine-induced invasion but their population declines over time. Eventually, another shot of the vaccine is needed to increase the number of antibodies.
For their study, Karine Spiegel at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research and Eve van Cotter at the University of Chicago hypothesized that insufficient sleep could damage the immune system’s ability to respond to vaccines and thus lead to fewer circulating antibodies. may result. They pooled results from seven studies in which a total of 603 participants between the ages of 18 and 60 had their antibody responses to vaccines monitored and were also asked how many hours of sleep they got each night. Were staying
Dr. Spiegel found that men showed a stronger association between insufficient sleep (defined as less than six hours a day) and antibody response. The magnitude of the effect, when sleep duration was objectively recorded by a lab rather than self-reported by a patient, was similar to that seen in an average person two months after being given the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 jab. It was like a shortage. , Vaccines given to sleep-deprived men, therefore, still provided protection but the effect was less potent from the start and lasted for a shorter time on average.
Results were published this week Current Biology. Dr. Spiegel says that encouraging patients to get plenty of sleep before and after vaccination is an ideal way for a medical system to maximize its vaccine stock and ensure that the benefits delivered are as large as possible.
As to why the results were not significant in women, Dr. Spiegel and colleagues theorize that sleep also affects a woman’s response to vaccines, but that hormone interference, driven by different phases of the menstrual cycle, contraception and hormone-replacement therapies, is probably altering immunity. Reacting in profound and unknown ways that give away consequences. This is a topic area that urgently needs more attention, argue the researchers.
Vaccines are an important tool in the world’s arsenal against disease and there is no denying the fact that developing and administering them is a difficult and costly process. But patients can at least be encouraged to rest their immune systems before they kick in. It doesn’t cost anything, and it can pay huge dividends.