Sleep and Immunity

Evidence continues to mount that your mother was right all along – not enough sleep leads to more colds and flus. Here’s one piece of that puzzle: not having enough sleep measurably blunts how well the body responds to the flu vaccine, according to a fascinating study published in the September 25, 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

This study was done in healthy young adults. Half of them slept only 4 hours a night for 6 nights, while the other half slept normally. Flu vaccines were given on the 5th day. Blood tests ten days later revealed that the sleep-deprived group averaged less than half the antibodies against flu enjoyed by the well-rested group!

Nevertheless, catching up on sleep can make a difference. A month later, there was no difference in levels of immunity between the two groups.

Published on: October 01, 2002
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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