Flu Shot Works Best in Well-Rested Individuals
Tue Sep 24, 5:38 PM ET
By Charnicia E. Huggins
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - An annual vaccination may be the best way to
protect against the influenza bug, but to guarantee its effectiveness,
people should also be sure to get a good night's sleep before they get their
flu shot, new study findings show.
"Getting your flu shot after not having enough sleep may not offer the same
protection as getting it when well-rested," study author Dr. Eve Van Cauter
of the University of Chicago in Illinois told Reuters Health.
"Chronic partial sleep loss, as experienced by millions of Americans today,
has an adverse effect on immune function," she added.
To investigate, Van Cauter and her team studied 25 healthy young men. Eleven
had their sleep restricted to just 4 hours a night on 6 nights of the week,
followed by 12 hours of sleep per night for a full week. They were
vaccinated against the flu on the morning of the fifth day during their
sleep-deprived week. The remaining 14 men maintained their usual bedtimes
before they were vaccinated.
At follow-up, 10 days after the vaccinations, the investigators found that
the men who were immunized while sleep-deprived had an immune response to
the flu that was less than half of that shown by their better-rested peers.
At both the 3- and 4-week follow-ups, however, there were no great
differences in immune response between the two groups, the researchers note.
Their findings are published in a letter to the editor in the September 25th
issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
"These findings add to a growing body of evidence indicating that sleep
curtailment has adverse health effects," such as making people more prone to
colds and other illnesses, Van Cauter said.
The study was partially funded by grants from the National Institutes of
SOURCE: The Journal of the American Medical Association 2002;288:1471-1472.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]