Why you shouldn’t be sleep-deprived before getting a flu shot

How to navigate flu season in light of the coronavirus pandemic

Getting a good night’s sleep is important for maintaining overall good health, from reducing stress to lowering your risk of disease. According to one expert, rest is also key to boosting the effectiveness of the flu vaccine.

The CDC recommends everyone age 6 months and older get a flu shot before the end of October because it can take two to four weeks to have full immunity. The annual flu vaccination is especially important this year, experts say, because hospitals are already struggling to care for coronavirus patients.

That’s why sleep specialist Matthew Walker, author of “Why We Sleep,” told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour practicing “good sleep hygiene” is important.

Walker told Amanpour that insufficient sleep in the week before getting a flu shot can lead to the production of less than 50% of the normal antibody response — a reaction that would render the flu shot largely ineffective, CNN reported.

Walker specializes in the relationship between sleep and human health at the University of California, Berkeley.

Walter Reed Army Institute of Research has ongoing studies investigating the relationship between sleep and immunity, according to CNN, and studies to investigate sleep and vaccine efficacy are planned.

Walker said these studies and others like them could lead to a breakthrough for our resistance to the coronavirus.

“We then need to study, is there that same relationship between sleep and your successful Covid immunization, because if there is, then that could also be a game changer,” he told Amanpour.

Numerous studies have linked lack of sleep to obesity, heart disease, mental health and even risky behavior in teens.

Sleep deprivation can also leave you vulnerable to viruses, Walker said.

“Individuals who are sleeping less than seven hours are three times more likely to become infected by the rhinovirus, or the common cold,” Walker told Amanpour. “We know that individuals who are sleeping five hours or less a night are 70% more likely to contract pneumonia.”