Doctors are studying the effects of sleep disorders on thoughts of suicide
Sleep disorders among young adults can lead to increased rates of suicide. Sleep disorders that occur are often an early warning sign that there is an increase in suicidal thoughts. Researchers have now found that a better understanding of sleep disorders could prevent many suicides.
In their research, Stanford University researchers found that a better understanding of sleep disorders could lead to reduced suicide rates in young adults. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry".
A better understanding of suicidal thoughts can prevent future suicides
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people in the United States. In the UK, suicide is even the most common cause of death among young people. Researchers are now trying to figure out what is the link between sleep disorders and suicides. A better understanding of the signs of suicidal thoughts is important to prevent future suicides, the experts explain.
How was the study structured?
Previous research had already shown a connection between suicidal thoughts and poor sleep. The current investigation was now trying to find out which aspects of disturbed sleep lead to thoughts of suicide. In their research, the scientists used sleep monitoring devices and the participants' recordings of suicidal thoughts. To this end, the experts examined 50 students with thoughts about suicide. The doctors monitored the students' sleep for a period of seven days. In addition, the subjects were asked to fill out a questionnaire at the end and at the beginning of the study, the scientists explain. He asked questions about the severity of suicidal thoughts, depression, insomnia, nightmares and alcohol consumption.
Changes in sleeping habits can predict suicidal thoughts
The researchers found that changes in sleeping habits can be used to predict suicidal thoughts. The authors further explain that suicidal thoughts were symptoms of insomnia and nightmares. It has long been known that sleep problems, and particularly insomnia, are associated with a variety of psychological problems, doctors add. The results of the current study made it clear that insomnia contributed to a significant risk of developing many mental disorders.
Does poor sleep lead to increased suicide attempts?
Over the past 15 years, scientists have expanded their research into a relationship between sleep problems and an increased risk of suicide. Within this framework, various research groups around the world began to investigate whether poor sleep is associated with increased suicidal thoughts and whether poor sleep is more likely to lead to suicide or attempted suicide.
Study results were independent of depression
The current study made it clear that there was indeed a strong association between sleep problems and suicide. The severity and duration of symptoms of insomnia and nightmares were associated with increased suicidal thoughts, the authors say. It was particularly interesting that the results were found in almost all studies regardless of the diagnosis of depression or the number of depressive symptoms.
Three possible reasons for a connection between sleep problems and suicide
The exact reasons for the connection between sleep problems and suicides have not yet been clarified, explain the doctors. The researchers have three possible explanations for these effects. One of them is a significant overlap between brain circles that are involved in both emotion regulation and sleep, the scientists say. In other words, if sleep is disturbed, the likelihood of a disturbed mood increases. The second theory says that changes in the structure of sleep due to poor sleep and insomnia make us more susceptible to mood disorders and suicidal thoughts, the authors say. The third explanation is based on daytime fatigue caused by poor sleep. This fatigue affects the ability to think and act rationally, the experts add. (as)