Lack of sleep 'can affect body's immune system'

1 August 2012

People who have a poor sleep pattern could be putting their health at risk, if a new study is anything to go on.

New research by the University of California, San Francisco, has suggested that sleep duration has an immediate effect on a body's vaccine immune response.

The study group focussed on 125 people between the age of 40 and 60 who were all nonsmokers and based in Pennsylvania for their research.

Each had a standard three-dose hepatitis B vaccine during the six-month study period, had their antibody levels measured around the time each vaccination was given and kept a sleep diary.

Results found that participants who had less than six hours of sleep a night on average were most unlikely to see their body build up antibody responses to the vaccine, thus being less protected against its effects.

Lead author Aric Prather commented: "Based on our findings and existing laboratory evidence, sleep may belong on the list of behavioural risk factors that influence vaccination efficacy."

Last month, a separate study carried out at the University of Alabama suggested that people who sleep for less than six hours on average per night are increasing their chances of suffering from a stroke.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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