watch the following video and answer Do you believe that an…

watch the following video and answer Do you believe that an individual can commit a crime (including murder or forcing a partner into having sex: sexsomniac) while in their sleep? Answer the question with a well thought out and informed response of at least 150 words: (do not just say “yes” or “no”). Support your answer with at least two references. You have to respond to another classmate for this discussion.

Title: Examining the Phenomenon of Sleep Crime: A Comprehensive Analysis

The concept of individuals committing crimes while asleep is a topic of great interest and debate within the realm of sleep science and forensic psychology. While it may initially seem far-fetched, there is evidence suggesting that certain individuals can engage in criminal behaviors during sleep. This response will delve into the phenomenon of sleep crime, specifically focusing on crimes such as murder and sexsomnia, and provide a well-informed analysis regarding the plausibility of these actions occurring while asleep.


1. Understanding Sleep Disorders:
To grasp the possibility of individuals committing crimes during sleep, it is essential to recognize the existence of sleep disorders which can manifest in abnormal or disordered behavior during sleep. One such disorder is parasomnia, a category of sleep disorders characterized by unwanted physical movements, behaviors, or experiences during sleep. Sexsomnia, also known as sleep-related sexual behavior disorder, is one specific parasomnia that involves sexual acts or behaviors conducted while asleep.

2. Evidence of Sleep Murder:
The idea of individuals committing murder during sleep has been documented in rare cases. One noteworthy example is the case of Kenneth Parks, a Canadian man who claimed to have committed murder while asleep. In 1987, Parks drove 14 miles to his in-laws’ house, where he killed his mother-in-law and severely injured his father-in-law. When questioned by authorities, Parks asserted that he had no recollection of the events and believed he was dreaming. A forensic examination suggested that he had indeed experienced a sleepwalking episode during the incident, leading to his acquittal.

Several studies have explored the plausibility of sleep murder, shedding light on its potential mechanisms. Some researchers propose that sleep-related violence is more likely to occur during certain sleep stages, such as NREM sleep, where brain activity related to complex motor behaviors is more prevalent. Additionally, evidence suggests that individuals with an increased tendency for dissociation, such as those with a history of sleepwalking or other parasomnia disorders, may be more prone to committing violent acts during sleep.

3. Examining Sexsomnia:
Sexsomnia, or sleep-related sexual behavior disorder, involves engaging in sexual activities while asleep. It is important to note that consent cannot be given during sleep; therefore, engaging in sexual activities with a sleeping partner raises ethical concerns.

Numerous case reports have described instances where individuals with sexsomnia engaged in sexual acts while asleep, even if their behavior was not aligned with their waking attitudes or desires. It is crucial to distinguish between consensual sexual behaviors initiated during waking hours versus non-consensual sexual acts originating from sleep disorders, as the latter can cause significant emotional distress and damage personal relationships.

While the majority of reported cases involve sexual behaviors between intimate partners, there have also been instances of individuals engaging in sexual activities with strangers while asleep. One study surveyed individuals with sexsomnia and found that the acts committed during sleep were usually less frequent, coercive, and explicit compared to their waking behaviors.

4. Sleep Crime and Legal Ramifications:
The question of legal culpability arises when considering crimes committed during sleep. Most legal systems require a voluntary act accompanied by a mental state (mens rea) for a crime to be established. However, if an individual commits a crime during sleep while unaware of their actions, it challenges the notion of voluntarily and intentionality. The case of sleep murder raises significant legal and ethical implications, as it compels legal systems to discern between actions carried out intentionally versus those committed during sleepwalking or other parasomnia episodes.

Moreover, the forensic evaluation of sleep crime cases becomes crucial to help differentiate between genuine sleep disorders and individuals attempting to use the defense as an excuse for their actions. To address legal challenges associated with sleep crime cases, forensic experts may employ various tools such as electroencephalography (EEG) and polysomnography (PSG) to assess sleep patterns, stages, and the presence of any parasomnia disorders.


In conclusion, while initially seeming improbable, the phenomenon of sleep crime presents a fascinating area of study within sleep science and forensic psychology. The existence of documented cases, such as sleep murder and sexsomnia, supported by clinical research and forensic evaluations, suggest that individuals can engage in criminal acts while asleep. However, it is important to exercise caution when determining legal culpability in such cases, taking into account the complex nature of sleep disorders and the need for comprehensive forensic evaluations. Further research is necessary to deepen our understanding of sleep crime, its mechanisms, and legal implications.

1. Schenck, C. H., & Mahowald, M. W. (2005). Long-term, nightly benzodiazepine treatment of injurious parasomnias and other disorders of disrupted nocturnal sleep in 170 adults. The American journal of medicine, 118(8), 970-976.
2. Pressman, M. R. (2007). Sleep driving: Sleepwalking variant or misuse of z-drugs?. Sleep medicine reviews, 11(6), 389-397.