A Psychiatry Advisor report examines the findings of a new study that assessed the link between sleep and suicide.

An estimated 50-70 million US adults suffer from sleep or wakefulness disorders, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to frame inadequate sleep as a public health epidemic. A recent survey found that nearly 30% of adults slept 6 hours or less each night, and only 31% of high school students averaged at least 8 hours nightly.1 That bodes poorly for the nation’s health, as researchers have linked poor sleep with a variety of mental and physical health problems ranging from diabetes and cancer to anxiety and depression.1,2

A new study published in BMJ Open examined the link between sleep and another serious outcome: suicide.3 Previous research reported an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in individuals who have impaired sleep, and a large longitudinal cohort study revealed that poor sleep quality predicted increased suicide risk over a 10-year period.4 In addition, despite the connections that have observed between depression and suicide, and depression and sleep, a meta-analysis found an association between poor sleep and suicidal thoughts and behaviors independent of depression status.4

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