Interdisciplinary Autoimmune Summit

Interdisciplinary Autoimmune Summit

April 04, 2016
1 min read

Immune system, response to vaccines may be modulated by sleep activity

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NEW YORK CITY — During a presentation at the Interdisciplinary Autoimmune Summit, Aric A. Prather, PhD, said sleep plays a role in modulating the immune system and a lack of adequate sleep can lower response to vaccination and resistance to infection.

Prather said sleep is a dynamic process, and cycles of rapid-eye movement and other types of sleep, including slow-wave sleep, normally occur many times throughout the night in people who are healthy sleepers.

Prather cited a study by Patel and colleagues that found the rate ratios of pneumonia among people who self-report few hours of sleep were higher than those in people who reported 8 hours of sleep per night, although the risk rose for people who reported sleeping more than 9 hours per night. People who reported no greater than 5 hours of sleep per night had an age-adjusted relative risk (RR) of 1.7 for infectious diseases compared with an RR of 1.29 by participants who reported 6 hours of sleep per night and an RR of 1.15 for those who reported 7 hours of sleep per night. However, the RR increased to 1.49 among participants who reported more than 9 hours of sleep per night. The RRs were similar in multivariate models.

Prather cited several other studies that showed increased levels of sleep were associated with an increased antibody response in participants who received hepatitis A and B vaccinations. In one of Prather’s studies, a 56% increase in antibody response to the hepatitis B vaccine was associated with each increased hour of sleep, and participants who slept for 6 hours or less were 11.5-times more likely to not receive protection from the vaccine compared with participants who slept for more than 7 hours per night on average. Sleep quality was also associated with changes in circulating interleukin-6 in a study by Prather and colleagues, and with inflammation in a study conducted by Irwin and colleagues. – by Shirley Pulawski


Prather AA. Sleep-immune connections: From host defense to silent inflammation. Presented at: Interdisciplinary Autoimmune Summit 2016; April 1-3; New York City.

Disclosure: Prather reports no relevant financial disclosures.