Sleep disorders may be a sign of worsening suicidal thoughts, a new study suggests.


The study monitored the sleeping pattern of 50 university students, aged 18 to 23.

The students, who had a history of suicide attempts or recent thoughts of suicide, were monitored for one week.

According to the findings, sleep disorders were found to be a warning sign of magnified suicidal thoughts in the following days and weeks.


“Suicide is the tragic outcome of psychiatric illness interacting with multiple biological, psychological and social risk factors,” said lead author Rebecca Bernert, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University medical school.

“Sleep is a barometer of our well-being, and directly impacts how we feel the next day.”

Rebecca, however, said sleep problems are highly treatable.


“Sleep disturbances stand apart from other risk factors because they are visible as a warning sign, yet non-stigmatizing and highly treatable,” she said.

“Compared to other risk factors for suicide, disturbed sleep is modifiable and highly treatable using brief, fast-acting interventions.

“Because sleep is something we universally experience, and we may be more willing to openly talk about it relative to our mental health, we believe its study may represent an important opportunity for suicide prevention.”

The researchers are currently conducting suicide prevention studies using insomnia treatments.


The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

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