Insomnia in Neurological Diseases and Disorders

  • Federica Provini
  • Carolina Lombardi
  • Elio Lugaresi
Part of the Current Clinical Neurology book series (CCNEU)


Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint. Insomnia is not a disease but a symptom arising from multiple environmental, medical, and mental disorders. Insomnia can be transient, short-term, or chronic in its presentation. Degenerative and vascular diseases involving the central nervous system (CNS) may impair sleep either as a result of the brain lesion or because of illness-related personal discomfort.

Chronic insomnia can be caused by neurological conditions characterized by movement disorders starting or persisting during sleep that hinder sleep onset and/or sleep continuity.

Three specific neurological conditions, Fatal familial insomnia, a human prion disease, Morvan’s chorea, an autoimmune limbic encephalopathy, and Delirium tremens, the well-known alcohol or benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, share a common clinical phenotype characterized by an inability to sleep associated with motor and autonomic activation. Agrypnia excitata (AE) is the term which aptly defines this generalized overactivation syndrome, whose pathogenetic mechanism consists in an intralimbic disconnection releasing the hypothalamus and brainstem reticular formation from corticolimbic control.


Insomnia Degenerative diseases Movement disorders Fatal familial insomnia Morvan’s chorea Delirium tremens Agrypnia excitata 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Federica Provini
    • 1
  • Carolina Lombardi
    • 1
  • Elio Lugaresi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurological SciencesUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly

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