The Impact of Sleep Deprivation on the Immune System in Shift-Working Nurses during Outbreak

Document Type : Review Articles


1 Nurse Specialist, Riyadh First Health Cluster, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

2 Nursing Technician, Durma General Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

3 Nurse Specialist, Riyadh Third Health Cluster, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

4 Nurse Specialist, Taif Health cluster, Taif, Saudi Arabia


Healthcare workers on the front line of COVID-19 face extended work hours with limited breaks, disruption of their sleep patterns, and an imbalance between the effort they put into their work and the rewards they receive. This has a negative impact on their ability to perform their duties, which is further exacerbated by the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), limited resources and inadequate infrastructure, as well as the fear of contracting the virus and spreading it to their families. Consequences of sleep deprivation include persistent insomnia, sleep problems caused by stress, and post-traumatic stress disorder. These changes in sleep patterns have a significant impact on mental well-being, leading to the development or continuation of worry, stress, and sadness, which in turn impairs the capacity to control positive and negative emotions. Having pre-existing sleep difficulties significantly increases the chance of developing and sustaining PTSD when people experience a major stressor like the COVID-19 epidemic. Simultaneously, the way a person manages their emotions related to worry throughout the day affects their ability to sleep at night, leading to ongoing sleep problems. These alterations in sleep and emotional management also impact the immune system. Sleep deprivation is often linked to chronic inflammatory illnesses as a result of disruptions in circadian rhythms, which may lead to potential psychophysiological problems and compromised neuroimmune-endocrine balance. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of how sleep disorders impact the immune system and emotional regulation. It explores the phenomenological and neurobiological mechanisms behind these effects and offers insights into cognitive and behavioral coping strategies that health professionals can adopt to promote a healthier sleep pattern during the COVID-19 outbreak.


Main Subjects

Volume 67, Issue 13 - Serial Number 13
In Loving Memory of Late Professor Doctor ””Mohamed Refaat Hussein Mahran””
December 2024
Pages 677-684
  • Receive Date: 01 June 2024
  • Revise Date: 20 June 2024
  • Accept Date: 04 July 2024