Medically reviewed by Lauren Castiello, MS, AGNP-C
Lauren is a board-certified adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner. Lauren has done NP clinical practicums focusing on the adolescent, adult, and geriatric populations in internal medicine, long-term care, and in outpatient oncology/bone marrow transplant. Lauren received a BA from Assumption University, a BSN from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and her MS in Nursing from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. She is certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

Since the start of the vaccine distribution, more than 192 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccination have been administered. At the time of this article, 75 million people have been fully vaccinated. For reference, that’s 22.7% of the population. As a country, we’re almost at the point where all adults are eligible for getting their first vaccine. Most states have already expanded their requirements to anyone over 16.

Vaccines are a vital part of the U.S. strategy to stop the spread of Covid-19. But undeniably, they can be hard on your body. If you know someone who has gotten it, they’ve likely told you about how tired they felt after it. For the record, that’s normal, but it got us thinking. Are there factors that make a person’s immune system join forces with the vaccine and make it more or less effective? Specifically, factors like sleep. 

As it turns out, that’s exactly what researchers are investigating. A new study from UC San Francisco has enlisted 600 unvaccinated people in the Bay Area to investigate if predictors –– age, stress, sleep and emotional wellbeing –– play a part in the body’s defenses. Insufficient sleep is one of the factors being investigated. 

What Part Does Sleep Play In All Of This?

Chronic stress and lack of sleep have been known to compromise the antibody response in previous flu vaccinations. And unfortunately, during the pandemic, stress is in surplus and sleep is hard to come by. The fact is, if you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system is not as strong as it could be. When you sleep, your immune system is able to replenish the cytokines needed to fight off infection. Depriving your body of that is like giving a virus a leg up. 

Committing to good sleep before getting your vaccination can boost the immune response of your body. A March 2020 study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that people who got good sleep for at least two nights before their flu vaccine had a more effective response. 

More Research Still Needs To Be Done

The reduction in antibody production due to lack of sleep and its impacts on the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine is still undetermined. So there isn’t direct evidence that getting better sleep is going to make your Covid-19 vaccine more effective. That said, past studies have explored the effects of past influenza vaccinations. 

We expect to see more research down the road that sheds more light on the relationship between sleep and the covid-19 vaccine. Regardless of where we are in the stages of research for the covid-19 vaccine, we know sleep does play an important role in maintaining and building up your immune system. There has been extensive research on the subject. What has been found is the same –– vaccines challenge immune systems, and consistent sleep helps to strengthen them.

One thing is for sure: If you want your body and your immune system to be in the best possible spot to receive the vaccine, get some sleep!

Too Long, Didn’t Read?

Sleep loss may weaken your immune system and your defenses against the coronavirus. It also may prove to have an impact on how well your body accepts the Covid-19 vaccine. More research is needed to determine for sure; however, past research on influenza vaccines points our instincts in that direction. All of this said, the point is, GET SOME SLEEP! It’s going to help you both before and after your vaccine.