Lack of sleep could weaken vaccine effectiveness

A recently released study suggests that a lack of sleep may limit the effectiveness of vaccines.

The study showed that adults who had been administered a Hepatitis B vaccine were less likely to be adequately protected against the illness if they had less than six hours of sleep a night than those who had slept over six hours a night, according to MSN.

The researchers concluded that a lack of sleep may have an overall detrimental effect on the immune system process that affects vaccine response.

"While there is more work to be done in this area, in time, physicians and other health care professionals who administer vaccines may want to consider asking their patients about their sleep patterns, since lack of sleep may significantly affect the potency of the vaccination," Aric Prather, a psychologist at the University of California, San Francisco, said, MSN reports.

Previous research has proven that poor sleep patterns can leave people more susceptible to certain infections, but it remains unclear as to how sleep affects the immune responses known to help the body protect itself from infection.

Trial participants who slept less than six hours a night were shown to be, on average, 11.5 times more likely to have antibody levels low enough to leave them susceptible to infection.

"These findings should help raise awareness in the public health community about the clear connection between sleep and health," Prather said, MSN reports.