Nature Reviews Immunology 4, 457-467 (June 2004) | doi:10.1038/nri1369

Sick and tired: does sleep have a vital role in the immune system?

Penelope A. Bryant1, John Trinder2 & Nigel Curtis1  About the authors


It is a common belief that we are more susceptible to infections when deprived of sleep. Consistent with this, there is increasing evidence that sleep deprivation has detrimental effects on the immune response, indicating that sleep should be considered a vital part of the immune system and that there is a reciprocal relationship between sleep and immunity. This relationship is important because, over recent decades, there has been a documented decrease in the mean duration and quality of sleep in the population. The concept that lack of sleep might be compromising immunity in the population has far-reaching public-health implications for both individuals and society.

Author affiliations

  1. University Department of Paediatrics, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, and Department of General Medicine (Paediatric Infectious Diseases Unit). Royal Children's Hospital, Flemington Road, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia.
  2. Department of Psychology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia.

Correspondence to: Nigel Curtis1 Email:


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