Sleep and Immunity

“O sleep, O gentle sleep. Nature’s soft nurse”.  Shakespeare and extensive folklore have recognized the relationship between sleep and health for a very long time.  However, only in the recent years has scientific research carefully documented this relationship. There is extensive literature showing that signals to the blood and immune systems and properties of the blood and immune systems have circadian and sleep related cycles.

Conversely, signals from the immune system have powerful effects on sleep. Nevertheless, little is known about the mechanisms whereby sleep promotes blood and immune system function and health. We found that sleep directly affects the hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), which are the cells responsible for the lifelong production and maintenance of blood and immune cells.


Recent reviews in the field:

  • Sleep and immune function. Besedovsky L, Lange T, Born J. Pflugers Arch. 2012
  • How (and why) the immune system makes us sleep. Imeri L, Opp MR.; Nat Rev Neurosci. 2009
  • Sick and tired: Does sleep have a vital role in the immune system? Bryant PA, Trinder J, Curtis N. Nat Rev Immunol. 2004
  • Humoral sleep regulation; interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor. Jewett KA, Krueger JM. Vitam Horm. 2012