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Insomnia in Patients with Borderline Personality Disorder

Authors Vanek J, Prasko J, Ociskova M, Hodny F, Holubova M, Minarikova K, Slepecky M, Nesnidal V

Received 1 December 2020

Accepted for publication 20 January 2021

Published 22 February 2021 Volume 2021:13 Pages 239—250


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Ahmed S Bahammam

Jakub Vanek,1 Jan Prasko,1– 3 Marie Ociskova,1 Frantisek Hodny,1 Michaela Holubova,4 Kamila Minarikova,1 Milos Slepecky,2 Vlastimil Nesnidal1

1Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University Palacky Olomouc, University Hospital, Olomouc, 77520, The Czech Republic; 2Department of Psychology Sciences, Faculty of Social Science and Health Care, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Nitra, The Slovak Republic; 3Institute for Postgraduate Education in Health Care, Prague, The Czech Republic; 4Department of Psychiatry, Hospital Liberec, Liberec, The Czech Republic

Correspondence: Jan Prasko
Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Olomouc and Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Palacky University Olomouc, I. P. Pavlova 6, Olomouc, 77520, The Czech Republic

Objective: Both sleep disorders and BPD are prevalent in the population, and one is often a comorbidity of the other. This narrative review aims to assess contemporary literature and scientific databases to provide the current state of knowledge about sleep disorders in patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and clinical suggestions for managing sleep disorders in BPD patients and future research direction.
Methods: Articles were acquired via PubMed and Web of Science, and papers published between January 1980 and October 2020 were extracted. Authors made a series of literature searches using the keywords: Sleep problems, Insomnia, Nightmares, Obstructive sleep apnea, Borderline personality disorder. The inclusion criteria were: published in peer-reviewed journals; studies in humans; or reviews on the related topic; English language. The exclusion criteria were: abstracts from conferences; commentaries; subjects younger than 18 years. After an inspection of the full texts, 42 papers from 101 were selected. Secondary documents from the reference lists of the primary designated papers were searched, assessed for suitability, and included. In total, 71 papers were included in the review process.
Results: Sleep disturbance is common among patients with BPD. Nevertheless, the number of investigations is limited, and the prevalence differs between 5– 45%. Studies assessing objective changes in sleep architecture in BPD show inconsistent results. Some of them identify REM sleep changes and a decrease in slow-wave sleep, while other studies found no objective sleep architecture changes. There is also a higher prevalence of nightmares in patients with BPD. Untreated insomnia can worsen BPD symptoms via interference with emotional regulation. BPD itself seems to influence the subjective quality of sleep significantly. Proper diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders in patients with BPD could lead to better results in therapy. Psychotherapeutic approaches can improve both sleep disorders and BPD symptoms.
Conclusion: Recognising and managing sleep disorders in patients with BPD may help alleviate the disorder’s symptoms. Treatment of people with BPD may be more effective if the treatment plan explicitly addresses sleep problems. Further research is needed to reach reliable conclusions.

Keywords: insomnia, borderline personality disorder, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectic behavioral therapy, transference focus therapy, mentalization therapy

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