But researchers say it's not clear if one causes the other
WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- New research provides more evidence of a link between sleeplessness and suicidal thoughts or attempts, although it's not clear whether insomnia actually makes people want to kill themselves.
Still, the findings suggest that "persistent sleep problems might be an important contributor to suicidal thinking," said study author Dr. Marcin Wojnar, a research fellow at the University of Michigan and an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Warsaw in Poland.
Researchers have connected insomnia to suicide before. But the new study, said to be the most comprehensive of its kind, looks at the population as a whole, not mentally ill people in particular.
The findings were to be released Wednesday at the World Psychiatric Association International Congress on Treatments in Psychiatry in Florence, Italy. The study was funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.
The researchers looked at the results of a national survey of 5,692 adults taken between 2001 and 2003.
Overall, about a third of those surveyed reported sleep problems, but only a small number said they'd been suicidal.
Fewer than 3 percent reported thinking about suicide in the previous year. Fewer than 1 percent said they'd planned suicide, and the number was nearly the same for those who had attempted it.
People who had trouble getting to sleep were 5.1 times more likely than those who didn't to have had thoughts about suicide. They were also 9.1 times more likely to have planned suicide and 7.5 times more likely to have attempted suicide within the past 12 months.
Other kinds of sleeplessness -- waking up too early and having trouble sleepin
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