Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 18 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Sleep medicine has extended into two areas with legal implications: 1) public policy regarding work-related accidents caused by excessive sleepiness and 2) harm done during partial arousals from sleep. In the first, excessive daytime sleepiness, harm is caused by the defendant falling asleep during a waking activity. In the second, partial arousals from sleep, such as sleepwalking, harm occurs when the accused behaves as if awake while still partially sleeping. Accidents due to excessive daytime sleepiness are often the result of insufficient time spent sleeping. This has led several countries to regulate allowable working hours. Aggressive and sexual assaults during sleepwalking have resulted in improved diagnostic specificity. A sleep expert’s role as witness in these new areas includes validation of the diagnosis and testimony pertinent to responsibility for a sleep-related, unmotivated, nonconscious act. This role is controversial based on the ability of the expert to judge an accused’s state of mind during an unwitnessed event remote in time and the explanatory model they employ.

Keywords: accidents, aggression, excessive sleepiness, legal responsibility, sex assaults, sleepwalking, slow wave sleep, state of mind.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.