|Suicide doubles with sleep deprivation|
|Written by Andrew Steckling, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Thursday, 23 April 2009 18:00|
Sleep deprivation may be one of the leading factors in suicidal thoughts or actions, according to a new study.
The study, which was presented at the World Psychiatric Association International Congress in Florence, Italy, earlier this month, looked at the relationship between sleep problems and suicidal behaviors among the 5,000 participants.
"People with two or more sleep symptoms were 2.6 times more likely to report a suicide attempt than those without any insomnia complaints," Marcin Wojnar, a researcher at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who led the study, said in a statement.
Dr. David West, medical director at the Sleep Center of Central Illinois, could not find a link between insomnia and suicide itself, but said any sleep disorder has its disadvantages.
"Any sleep disorder can lead to a psychological problem, and the most common of course is insomnia, but I am unsure as to how insomnia and suicide are connected without any further data," he said.
A third of the study's volunteers stated that at least one type of sleep disturbance had bothered them in the last year. Those who reported that problem were twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts or planned a suicide, and were three times as likely to actually attempt it.
"The link between suicide and insomnia hasn't been looked at thoroughly except for these observational studies, and I'm sure that if you look through a suicide in a backwards manner, most of the cases will be sleep-related problems," Dr. West said.
"It serves as a marker, but there is no reason or support to cite a connection."
In the past month, Amy Wieland, sophomore psychology major, has had a good share of restless nights, but she said it doesn't affect her daily routine, nor does she ever contemplate suicide.
"I mean, yes, when I wake up early or don't get enough sleep, I'm generally very crabby. But that's it," she said.
Wieland said that sleep disorders could somehow influence the cognitive functions of the brain, or influence the way we think, act or speak. She said that might be some connection between insomnia, but it isn't likely.
"I could never see killing oneself as the ultimate decision if they haven't gotten a good night's sleep in a long time," Wieland said. "It just doesn't seem like a smart decision, but hey, I've never experienced it, so I wouldn't know."
The researchers in the study also said that lack of sleep might affect cognitive function, often leading to poorer judgment and increased hopelessness.