Risk factors for somnipathies are psychological stress or psychiatric illness. More severe sleep difficulties have been found to be clearly related to psychiatric illness such as depression and phobias, as well as to addiction. Somnipathies can objectively be identified by means of polygraphy. Overall, polysomnographic measures in patients with affective disorders differ most frequently and significantly from those in normal control subjects. Persistent sleep disturbances are associated with significant risk of both relapse and recurrence in mood disorders and an increased risk of suicide. In addition to changes in sleep architecture, patients with major depression show profoundly altered patterns of nocturnal hormone secretion, possibly through mechanisms that link regulation of sleep with neuroendocrine activity. Basic and clinical approaches of sleep research established neurobiological models into the underlying pathophysiology associated with psychiatric disorders.