Depression & Mental Health Blog
September 21, 2017
CJ Peters
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Is there a Correlation Between Disturbed Sleep and Suicidal Thoughts?

For many years, experts have recognized the association between disturbed sleep and suicidal thoughts. In fact, at least three-quarters of clinically depressed people struggle with sleep, and insomnia is a well-proven risk element in suicide.

Sleep disturbances can also increase the likelihood of nondepressed people becoming depressed. And while there is still not an exact reason to explain the correlation, experts agree there is some influence.

As a matter of fact, during mental disorder diagnosis, doctors often emphasize on sleep patterns to diagnose depression.

Insomnia and Suicide Risk

A study evaluated the degree of insomnia from a group of clinically-depressed people. The study found that the more severe the insomnia level was, the more likely they were to express suicidal desires or thoughts.

Researchers also took into consideration two indicators: unhealthy beliefs about sleep and constant nightmares. The result indicated that those two factors do play a significant role in the correlation.

Some experts believe the relationship between sleep disturbances and suicidal thoughts is because restless sleep fails in providing an emotional respite, especially during times of stress, and this impacts how people regulate moods, thereby affecting the threshold for suicidal behaviors.

However, both insomnia and suicidal thoughts vary widely depending on the person. Depression, as well as insomnia, is affected by so many factors, that pinpointing one cause is almost impossible.

Each situation may be different, and the fact that someone suffers from insomnia does not mean she or he will develop suicidal behaviors. And also, someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts may not have a sleep problem.

The gap between disturbed sleep and suicidal thoughts is getting smaller. Although experts cannot point at whatever underscores the relationship between insomnia and suicide, the likelihood is that they are deeply related.

Healthy Sleep Habits

Insomnia can often arise as a response to stressful times. However, poor sleep habits can also lead to sleep deprivation and other conditions. Maintaining proper sleep habits can help control symptoms of insomnia and improve your overall health. Try to include these guidelines to help you turn around the potentially dangerous side of insomnia:

  • Set up a schedule to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day
  • Do not go to sleep unless you are sleepy
  • Eliminate caffeine, especially at bedtime
  • Cut down alcoholic beverages or tobacco
  • Exercise regularly

The likelihood of experiencing suicidal thoughts is at least twice as much with insomnia. Most clinically-depressed people will say they have trouble resting at night. Look for relaxation methods you can use to calm down before bedtime, practice healthy sleeping habits, and know when to seek help to conceive a restorative, healthy, restful sleep.