Although generally considered as mutually exclusive, violence and sleep can coexist. Violence related to the sleep period is probably more frequent than generally assumed and can be observed in various conditions including parasomnias (such as arousal disorders and rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder), epilepsy (in particular nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy) and psychiatric diseases (including delirium and dissociative states). Important advances in the fields of genetics, neuroimaging and behavioural neurology have expanded the understanding of the mechanisms underlying violence and its particular relation to sleep. The present review outlines the different sleep disorders associated with violence and aims at providing information on diagnosis, therapy and forensic issues. It also discusses current pathophysiological models, establishing a link between sleep-related violence and violence observed in other settings. © 2010 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Guarantors of Brain. All rights reserved.
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