There seems to be some debate over whether or not Skeletons can be put to sleep by way of the Sleep spell in 5e.

Can they or not?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ -1 since the debate was about sleeping in general not just by means of the sleep spell. The sleep spell explicit say that undead are excluded. That doesn't give implicit immunity of the effect inflicted by sleep spell for undeads by every means. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zaibis
    Jun 21 '17 at 11:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also your question is ambiguous since the answer to the title is yes while to OP had to be answered with no. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zaibis
    Jun 21 '17 at 11:03


This limitation is defined in the spell description:

Undead and creatures immune to being charmed aren’t affected by this spell.

Skeletons are undead, therefore they cannot be put to sleep using the sleep spell.

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Sleep is also not a Condition and woudn't be listed as such for condition immunities. Always check your spell limitations for language that may be vitally important! \$\endgroup\$
    – NautArch
    Jun 20 '17 at 14:20
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Unconscious is a condition though, and immunity to it would protect against being put to sleep. \$\endgroup\$
    – Doval
    Jun 20 '17 at 15:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Doval yes, as pyrotechnical has in their answer. Skeletons are not immune to Unconscious. \$\endgroup\$
    – NautArch
    Jun 20 '17 at 16:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Doval sleep is not unconscious; I think you are mixing a misunderstanding on the real world with the game mechanics. A creature immune to unconscious would still sleep. Regarding condition immunities, a creature must be immune to charm to avoid the spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mindwin
    Jun 21 '17 at 0:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I found this: ref Normal sleep is an altered state of consciousness. You are aware and responding to stimuli, such as rolling over when uncomfortable or pulling up covers when cold, but in a diminished way. Unless the sleeper is given enough stimulation, they continue to sleep through it. - while it is not from scientifical research, corroborates the fact that sleep is not completely unconscious. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mindwin
    Jun 21 '17 at 0:38

They can't be put to sleep using the Sleep spell because of the inherent limitations of that spell. However, if you had another means of inflicting the unconscious condition upon them, for example a brass dragon's sleep breath, then they would be susceptible.


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