05 April 2009

Wake Up Early Make You Want Suicide MorePeople who suffer chronic sleep problems are more likely to think about suicide or try to kill themselves. The more types of sleep disturbances a person had such as waking up too early, difficulty falling asleep or lying awake at night, the higher their odds of suicidal thoughts, planned or attempted suicide.

People with two or more sleep symptoms were 2.6 times more likely to report a suicide attempt than those without any insomnia complaints. This has implications for public health as the presence of sleep problems should alert doctors to assess such patients for a heightened risk of suicide even if they don't have a psychiatric condition.

According to the World Health Organisation, some 877,000 people worldwide kill themselves each year. Scientists have linked sleep disturbances to increased suicidal risk in people with psychiatric disorders and in adolescents but it is unclear whether the association also exists in the general population, the researchers said.

Wake Up Early Make You Want Suicide MoreIn the study, presented at the World Psychiatric Association International Congress in Florence, Italy, Wojnar and colleagues looked at the relationship between sleep problems and suicidal behaviours among 5,692 U.S. men and women. About a third of the volunteers reported at least one type of sleep disturbance over the preceding year, which included either difficulty falling asleep, trouble staying asleep or waking at least two hours earlier than desired.

The most consistent link with suicide was waking up early. Other factors such as substance abuse and depression as well as for the influence of age, gender, marital and financial status, also confirmed in small amount of evidence.

People who reported that problem were twice as likely to have had suicidal thoughts or planned a suicide and were nearly three times more likely to have tried to kill themselves. The researchers do not know exactly why but said the lack of sleep may affect cognitive function and lead to poorer judgment and increased hopelessness.

A malfunction involving the brain chemical serotonin may also play a role. Addressing sleep problems could reduce the risk of suicidal behaviours.


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