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Patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) are susceptible to sleep deprivation. Disrupted sleep is associated with increased morbidity and mortality in the critically ill patients. The etiology of sleep disruption is multifactorial. The article reviews the literature on sleep in the ICU, the effects of sleep deprivation, and strategies to promote sleep in the ICU. Until the impact of disrupted sleep is better explained, it is appropriate to provide critically ill patients with consolidated, restorative sleep.