Institute of Medical Psychology

Breadcrumb Navigation


Besedovsky Lab - Sleep and Immunology

Fig. Sleep immuneResearch Topics

  • Sleep effects on T-cell function and inflammation
  • Circadian/diurnal rhythms in immune parameters
  • Hormonal mediators of sleep effects on the immune system









Sleep is a fundamental but still mysterious physiological state that makes up around 1/3 of our lives. Although it is quite intuitive that sleep is important to stay healthy and recover from sickness, scientific evidence for these notions is surprisingly scarce. In our group, we aim to scrutinize the role of sleep for human health in general and for the immune system in particular. We are especially interested to study how sleep modulates the development of immunological memory, e.g., after vaccination. We also investigate the underlying mechanisms of the influence of sleep on the immune system and focus hereby on the role of various mediators, such as hormones, that are released in a sleep-dependent fashion. Furthermore, we explore methods to enhance sleep in order to foster its effects on the endocrine and immune systems. We mainly perform highly controlled experimental studies in humans and also include circadian aspects in our research.

Selected Publications

Besedovsky, L., Benischke, M., Fischer, S., Yazdi, A.S., & Born, J. (2020). Human sleep consolidates allergic responses conditioned to the environmental context of allergen exposure. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 117, 10983-10988. Pubmed

Dimitrov, S., Lange, T., Gouttefangeas, C., Jensen, A. T. R., Szczepanski, M., Lehnnolz, J., Soekadar, S., Rammensee, H.G., Born, J., Besedovsky, L. (2019). Gαs-coupled receptor signaling and sleep regulate integrin activation of human antigen-specific T cells. J Exp Med, 216, 517-526. Pubmed

Besedovsky, L., Lange, T., Haack, M. (2019). The sleep-immune crosstalk in health and disease. Physiol Rev, 99, 1325-1380. Pubmed

Besedovsky, L., Ngo, H.V., Dimitrov, S., Gassenmaier, C., Lehmann, R., Born, J. (2017). Auditory closed-loop stimulation of EEG slow oscillations strengthens sleep and signs of its immune-supportive function. Nat Commun., 8, 1984. Pubmed

More publications