Prof. Dr. Dieter Riemann
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Sleep Europe 2024 Lecture Summary

D. Riemann, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychophysiology, Centre for Mental Disorders, University Medical Centre Freiburg, Germany.

The investigation of sleep in mental disorders has been a focus of neurobiologically oriented sleep research for more than five decades. Based on a meta-analysis of the polysomnographic literature it was confirmed that changes of sleep continuity, and to a lesser extent, sleep depth, are not specific for any mental disorder but occur transdiagnostic. In contrast, changes of REM sleep, like shortened REM latency or increased REM density are more specific for depressive disorders. Interestingly, changes of sleep continuity like prolonged sleep onset latency or an increased number of nocturnal awakenings also occur independent of mental disorders, then called “insomnia disorder”. Insomnia disorder is a risk factor to develop depression and anxiety disorders. Thus, at present we can argue that the relationship between changes of sleep, either insomnia, reduced sleep depth or altered REM sleep latency are not only typical symptoms of many mental disorders but can also be predictive or even be considered risk factors for mental disorders. This bi-directional relationship merits further investigation, with the aim to enhance our understanding of the etiology/ pathophysiology of mental illness and to improve diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive avenues for these disorders.


Dieter Riemann is a full Professor of Clinical Psychophysiology at the Centre for Mental Disorders of Freiburg University Medical Centre/ Germany since 1993, heading his own department. From 2007-2013 he was a member of the APA´s work group sleep disorders for DSM 5. Since 2015 he is a Visiting Professor at Oxford University (Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences). In 2021, he was awarded the Pisa sleep award for his work.

Prof. Riemann is a clinical psychologist with an approbation for cognitive-behavioural therapy. He is a certified clinical supervisor for CBT and directs the sleep lab of the Centre for Mental Disorder and its Clinical Psychology service and is a certified somnologist (DGSM/ ESRS).

Prof. Riemann has been active in sleep medicine and sleep research for almost four decades and has published almost 500 peer-reviewed articles and given more than 800 presentations at national and international meetings. DR first authored the German and the European Insomnia guideline in 2017 and published its update in December 2023. Since 2017 he is the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Sleep Research. His present work focuses on different aspects of insomnia including diagnostics, epidemiology, therapeutics and neurobiology.

dr dieter riemann

Prof. Dr. Dieter Riemann

Keynote Lecture:

Sleep, Insomnia and Mental Illness