The isolation and characterization of delta-sleep-inducing peptide (DSIP) achieved from 1963 to 1977 were reviewed in 1984. The first reports describing sleep as well as extra-sleep effects of DSIP also were included in that work. Only two years later, much additional literature concerning DSIP has accumulated. Besides further sleep-inducing and/or -supporting effects of DSIP in animals, considerable work has been carried out to evaluate the potential use of the peptide for therapeutic purposes such as treatment of insomnia, pain, and withdrawal. Immunohistochemical as well as radioimmunochemical studies provided further insights into the natural occurrence of the nonpeptide and the distribution of DSIP-like material in the body, suggesting possible relations of the peptide to certain diseases. Various physiological functions of DSIP and a possible mechanism of action involving the modulation of adrenergic transmission remain to be established.