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A quality night's sleep 'really is good for health'
New research has indicated that the amount of sleep people have each night can affect their body's effectiveness to vaccines.
A study led by Aric Prather, a scholar at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society at the University of California, San Francisco, and University of California Berkeley, has provided even more evidence about sleep duration being directly linked to vaccine immune response.
The research, which is detailed in the August issue of the journal SLEEP, was based around the analysis of 125 people who were living in Pennsylvania.
All of the participants – split between 70 women and 55 men – were aged between 40 and 60 years old, nonsmokers and in relatively good health.
During the six-month study, each person was given the standard three-dose hepatitis B vaccine, which was split between the first and second dose being administered a month apart, and then a booster dose given after six months.
The antibody levels of the participants were monitored throughout this period, while those involved kept a sleep diary to detail the time they went to sleep, when they woke and the quality of sleep enjoyed.
Once all of this data was gathered together, the researchers found that people who slept for fewer than six hours on average per night were less likely to see their bodies create antibody responses to the vaccine, when compared to the other study participants.
Mr Prather hopes that the research will have a positive impact on how doctors carry out their work, stating: "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."
The research follows on from a separate study carried out at Brigham and Women's Hospital, which suggested that sleeping for longer than nine hours or less than five hours per night increases the likelihood of a person suffering cognitive decline in later life.
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