Getting lots of shut-eye before and after a vaccination boosts the protection it gives – but only for men, researchers have discovered. Males who slept less than six hours a night in the days before and after a jab had fewer antibodies than those who slept seven or more.
Study author Dr Eve Van Cauter, at the University of Chicago, said: “Good sleep not only amplifies but may also extend the duration of protection of the vaccine.”
Researchers looked at results from seven studies involving vaccinations against flu or hepatitis A and B. They said the effect may be the same with other virus jabs.
Dr Van Cauter said: “With Covid-19 vaccines people who have pre-existing conditions are less protected, men are less protected than women and obese people are less protected than people who don’t have obesity.
“Those are all factors that an individual person has no control over. But you can modify your sleep.”
She said the findings, published in the journal Current Biology, suggest those who work irregular hours should plan jabs for when they will get enough sleep.
The negative effect of insufficient sleep was greater for adults aged 18-60 compared with over-65s.
This was explained by older people tending to sleep less in general. The booster effect was clear in men but not statistically significant in women.
Study co-author Karine Spiegel, of the French National Institute of Health and Medicine, said: “In women, immunity is influenced by the menstrual cycle, use of contraceptives, and by menopause.”
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