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More Sleep Lowers Suicide Risk For Insomniacs

More Sleep Lowers Suicide Risk For Insomniacs A lack of sleep can literally be a killer as people with insomnia are more apt to initiate suicidal actions.

A new study suggests helping people with insomnia get more sleep significantly reduces the thoughts of suicide.

Specifically, researchers discovered that every one-hour increase in sleep duration was associated with a 72 percent decrease in the likelihood of moderate or high suicide risk.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for more than 38,000 deaths each year. More people now die of suicide than in car accidents.

Moreover, difficulty with sleep is common in American society as about 10 to 15 percent of adults have an insomnia disorder with distress or daytime impairment.

“We were surprised by the strength of the association between sleep duration and suicide risk,” said primary author Linden Oliver, M.A., clinical research coordinator for the University of Pennsylvania Behavioral Sleep Medicine Research Program.

“A 72 percent decrease in the likelihood of moderate or high suicide risk with a one-hour increase in sleep is interesting given the small sample size.”

The research abstract has been published in an online supplement of the journal SLEEP.

For the study, researchers merged data from two studies of insomnia capturing 471 individuals. Seventy-three indicated suicide risk with 55 classified as low suicide risk and 18 were classified as moderate or high risk.

Experts say that sleep loss is associated with depression, executive dysfunction and poor decision-making. However, few studies have investigated the role of short sleep duration in suicidal ideation.

“These results further highlight the importance of obtaining adequate amounts of sleep,” said Oliver.

Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine

More Sleep Lowers Suicide Risk For Insomniacs

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). More Sleep Lowers Suicide Risk For Insomniacs. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 22, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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