It's common knowledge that getting insufficient sleep makes people immune-compromised.

However, what about light rest? In particular, if you spend a significant amount of sleeping hours conscious (but sleeping by every other part of the definition) does that impair immunity?

For reference, this condition could be caused by sleeping disorders or other health conditions.

  • 1
    I don't understand your definition of conscious sleep. Just resting isn't sleep, so if all you're doing is resting instead of sleeping then you're not sleeping -- by definition.
    – Carey Gregory
    Jul 3, 2017 at 15:26

1 Answer 1


This is currently a researchable topic in neuroscience. Actually its not about light sleep or deep sleep or resting.Neuroscience prefers to describe sleep in the context of the immunity into mainly two stages: REM(Rapid Eye movement)sleep and non-REM.

Every sleep cycle occurs broadly in the given stages: wakefulness ->rest ->non REM->REM-> non REM/wakefulness

You see every stages has varying hours in total sleeping duration and is different at different ages. The REM sleep is the also called paradoxical sleep because the EEG records are similar to that of wakefulness and it is during this stage that we dream. It is actually this stage of sleep that is responsible for boosting immunity.That is why it has been experimentally determined in rats that when they are deprived of REM sleep continuously for a few days they die.

Like I said REM sleep is still under study and is a matter of greater reasearch.



  • So it seems like the best treatment for insomnia-related immunodeficiency would be a medication that mimics the REM signal to the immune system. By any chance does this also mean that some forms of brain damage or deficiency could impair immunity through a similar mechanism (with no damage to the immune system otherwise)? Jul 3, 2017 at 16:29
  • @ user1258361 subject to confirmation and understanding of the pathways by neuroscientists.Like I said the pathways of REM interaction with immunity are not very well understood.
    – user 33690
    Jul 3, 2017 at 17:28
  • Much better. :-)
    – Carey Gregory
    Jul 5, 2017 at 13:37

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