There are still many aspects of sleep health that need to be understood, especially in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Just think about the last time that you were sick and how that changed your sleep behavior," Aric Prather, PhD, said in an interview with HCPLive.
Prather is an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and serves as the interim director of UCSF Center for Health and Community.
"You know," he continued, "we have these sickness behaviors, where we spend a lot more time resting away from other people, and our sleep architecture has changed as well."
Prather's presentation, "Sleep in the Time of COVID: An Update on How Sleep Affects the Immune System" occurred during the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (SLEEP) 2022 Annual Meeting.
He addressed the relationship between sleep and the immune system, specifically in the current era of the "ongoing and protracted" impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are still many aspects of sleep health that need to be understood, especially in relation to the pandemic.
Prather and his team are conducting research that's been following healthy individuals throughout the COVID-19 vaccine and booster process to examine its relationship to sleep, among other phenotypes. Because age plays a prominent role in immune system activity, the team decided to evaluate individuals who are over the age of 50.
"It's likely that we're going to need that type of variability to to get any kind of signal for some of these other factors that we're interested in," he explained, "whether it's sleep or stress or what have you, and I mean, the data isn't out. So, we'll find out."
For further insight on sleep and COVID-19, read more about Prather's research and SLEEP 2022 presentation.