How Insomnia Can Put You at Risk of Suicide

sleepless nightsA lack of sleep or failure to get a good night’s kip can be a debilitating thing. But long-term insomnia, where you begin to believe you will never actually fall asleep or sleep properly again can be a genuine threat to your health. In fact, those nights where you’re tossing and turning vainly hoping that you’ll finally sleep could actually raise your risk of suicide.

Insomnia is already known to be a risk factor for suicide. Now a new study by the Medical College of Georgia reveals that long-term insomnia can cause an individual to suffer from an individual type of hopelessness. And this particular type hopelessness is considered a predictor of suicide.

The findings of the study were reported in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. The research analysed 50 depressed patients, of whom more than half had attempted suicide. Most patients were also taking antidepressants. The research team looked to identify any potential link between insomnia and suicide risk, asking, “Do you think you will ever sleep again?”

The study concluded by identifying insomnia as a suicide risk factor and recommended that doctors should question their depressed patients with sleep problems whether they have considered suicide. The researchers suggested medication and psychological therapy could be used to improve sleep patterns.

Insomnia is defined as difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep long enough to feel refreshed. There are several causes, including stress and anxiety, while those who have a long-term medical condition such as depression and asthma or are misusing drugs or alcohol may also suffer from insomnia.

The most common symptoms are difficulty in falling asleep; waking up during the night and early in the morning; irritability and tiredness during the day along with an inability to function properly.

If you suffer from insomnia, you can try the following tips:

  • Get up at the same time every day, regardless of when you go to bed
  • Only go to bed when you feel tired and ready to sleep
  • Quit drinking caffeine, cut back on alcohol and stop smoking
  • Don’t eat close to bedtime
  • Try exercising, particularly a cardio activity, 4 hours before you go to bed

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