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Keywords:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder;
  • sleep;
  • polysomnography;
  • affective symptoms;
  • impulsivity

The aim of the study was to review the literature regarding sleep disturbances in Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and to relate the reported sleep alterations to the underlying core dimensions of BPD pathology. We present a qualitative and theoretical review regarding the empirical studies that investigated objective and subjective sleep quality in BPD and in different psychiatric conditions showing high co-morbidity with this disorder. We show that disturbed sleep including sleep fragmentation, alterations in Slow Wave Sleep and REM sleep, and dysphoric dreaming are prevalent symptoms in BPD. We provide a framework relating the specific sleep alterations to the core dimensions of BPD pathology in order to clarify the inconsistencies of the different findings. The specific sleep disturbances in BPD seem to be related to different dimensions of psychopathological functioning and may have detrimental consequences on waking affect and cognition. Investigating disturbed sleep in BPD in relation to waking symptoms and underlying neural functioning would shed more light on the nature of this complex disorder. Moreover, a stronger emphasis on sleep disturbances would enrich the treatment protocols of BPD.