The Relationship Between Sleep and Vaccine Efficacy

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is important to ending the pandemic. Not only is it one of the best ways to protect yourself from getting COVID-19, but it also helps protect those who are at risk of becoming seriously ill from the disease. Even if you do get COVID, those who are vaccinated may be less likely to become seriously ill from the disease.

Available Vaccines

As of March 2021, three vaccines are authorized and recommended in the U.S. to prevent COVID-19: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen.

Pfizer and Moderna

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires one. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines. mRNA vaccines teach your cells how to make a protein, or a piece of a protein, that triggers an immune response. Your body produces antibodies in response, which protect you from getting infected if the actual virus enters your body.

Johnson & Johnson

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, on the other hand, is a viral vector vaccine. These vaccines use a modified version of a different virus as a vector to deliver important instructions to your cells. Once it enters one of your cells, it uses its machinery to produce a harmless spike protein. A spike protein is on the outside of the virus that causes COVID-19. Your immune system recognizes it doesn’t belong there and starts producing antibodies and activating T-cells to fight off what it thinks is an infection.

Each of these vaccines went through clinical trials and have been shown to significantly reduce the chances a person will have COVID-19, develop symptoms, or require hospitalization.

Boosting Vaccine Efficacy

Still, some people may be wondering if there is any way to improve the vaccine’s efficacy. When referring to efficacy, we are talking about its ability to reduce the severity from COVID-10. It turns out sleep may help.

Bear in mind, research about sleep and COVID-19 is not yet available. There are, however, studies on other vaccines that show the relationship between sleep and the vaccine’s effectiveness.

Sleep and Vaccine Efficacy

One study of particular interest looked at the relationship between sleep and the vaccine’s efficacy against hepatitis B. The study showed that the participants who slept less produced fewer antibodies in response to the vaccine.

What’s more, their blood tests showed that they did not meet the standard of protection against the virus. Participants who slept less than six hours per night were nearly 12 times more likely to remain unprotected from hepatitis than those who slept more than seven hours.

It’s important to note that only the quantity of sleep affected the number of antibodies produced in response to the vaccine. Sleep quality didn’t matter.

Sleep is Essential to Your Health

Sleep is essential for immune health. We now understand that it may also contribute to how effective a COVID-19 vaccine works in your body. If you are scheduled to get vaccinated, be sure to take steps to ensure you are getting enough sleep the days before and after your appointment.

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