Cellular defence against the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) involves a number of mechanisms in which antioxidant enzymes such as catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) play an important role. The relation between sleep deprivation and oxidative stress has not yet been completely elucidated. Although some authors did not find evidence of this relationship, others found alterations in some oxidative stress markers in response to sleep deprivation. Thus, the objective of this study was to identify changes induced by sleep deprivation in the activity and gene expression of antioxidant enzymes in mice splenocytes, ideally corroborating a better understanding of the observed effects related to sleep deprivation, which could be triggered by oxidative imbalance. Splenocytes from mice sleep deprived for 72 h showed no significant difference in CAT and CuZnSOD gene expression compared with normal sleep mice. However, sleep-deprived mice did show higher MnSOD gene expression than the control group. Concerning enzymatic activity, CuZnSOD and MnSOD significantly increased after sleep deprivation, despite the expression in CuZnSOD remained unchanged. Moreover, CAT activity was significantly lower after sleep deprivation. The data suggest that the antioxidant system is triggered by sleep deprivation, which in turn could influence the splenocytes homoeostasis, thus interfering in physiological responses.