The sleep-immunity relationship

Neurol Clin. 2012 Nov;30(4):1313-43. doi: 10.1016/j.ncl.2012.08.007.


Research models show a strong interrelationship between sleep quality and immune function. The proinflammatory cytokines, interleukin-1, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor α are classified as official sleep-regulatory substances. However, sleep-promoting properties are also possessed by several other immune and proinflammatory cellular classes. This article reviews the current physiologic evidence for the prominent somnogenic and sleep-regulatory properties inherent to these immune substances. Clinical examples of this relationship are discussed from the perspective of infectious and primarily immune-related conditions associated with significant sleep disruption and from the perspective of immune dysregulation associated with several primary sleep disorders.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep / immunology*
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / drug therapy
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / immunology*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cytokines