Several sleep anomalies are known to accompany depression and other psychiatric disorders, and to be partially modified by drugs efficient on clinical symptoms. Many puzzling theoretical questions remain, even after 30 years of research, because these drugs do not act in a uniform way: some reduce slow-wave sleep while others increase it some prolong rapid-eye movement sleep latency, while others do not. The relationship between insomnia and depression is likely to be a close one, since a large majority of patients with depression suffer insomnia, and that insomnia can predate depression by a few years. However, questions remain here, too, since sleep deprivation is also an effective means to combat depression, and some patients present with hypersomnia rather than insomnia. This review details the action of all current classes of antidepressants on sleep. It examines the predictive value of baseline electronencephalographic sleep symptoms or early modifications due to treatment for eventual clinical efficiency. We will also discuss the two main theories on the relationship between sleep and depression. The action on sleep of all new drugs-and antidepressants in particular-is carefully examined during development, for insomnia is currently considered to be a major health con-insomnia is currently considered to be a major health concern in industrialized countries.