Why many vaccines aren't effective – and what you can do about it

November 06, 2012
Volume 09    |   Issue 45

Like me, you may prefer to avoid vaccines. However, some people chose to get the shots. And if you travel to certain countries or work in a hospital or school, officials may require the vaccines. When you do get the shots, you want them to work. Unfortunately, some of today’s vaccines don’t work very well, if at all. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that new research explains why some vaccines don’t work well. So if you do get a vaccine, you can take steps to make it work more effectively.

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco recently discovered that vaccines lose some of their effectiveness when a person sleeps poorly.

In the study, the researchers followed 120 middle-age (40-60 years old), non-smoking adults. They gave the participants the hepatitis B vaccine and evaluated their antibody response to the vaccine. Then they asked each participant to keep a record of their sleep habits. And, to double-check their sleep habits, they had the volunteers wear sleep monitors to bed.

The researchers published the results in the journal Sleep. Here’s what they found: Those who slept less than seven hours a night were 11.5 times more likely to not be protected by the vaccine. Whereas those who slept seven or more hours a night saw regular antibody response to the vaccine.

The reason sleep impacts the effectiveness of vaccines is because sleep affects your immune system. If your immune system isn’t working right, it won’t respond to the vaccine, making the vaccine ineffective.

So if you do get a vaccine, make sure you’re sleeping at least seven hours per night. If not, take steps to adjust your sleep habits before you get the vaccine. Otherwise, the vaccine may not work.

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I’ve written a lot about different ways to help you sleep better. You can read these articles on my website if you’re a subscriber to my paid newsletter. Two of the easiest ways to sleep better include taking melatonin (3 mg) or Advanced Sleep Formula before going to bed. Many who find that melatonin makes them groggy in the morning have better results with Advanced Sleep Formula. The nutrients in this formula are far gentler than melatonin and rarely cause grogginess.

Your voice of reason in Women's Health,


Aric A. Prather, PhD; Martica Hall, PhD; Jacqueline M. Fury, BS; Diana C. Ross, MSN, RN; Matthew F. Muldoon, MD, MPH; Sheldon Cohen, PhD; Anna L. Marsland, PhD, RN
“Sleep and Antibody Response to Hepatitis B Vaccination,” SLEEP, August 2012, doi: 10.5665/sleep.1990.

Kearney, Christine. “Not Getting Enough Sleep? Vaccines May Not Work.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 1 Aug. 2012 http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248522.php.

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