Sleep Disorders

11 January 2007

Nightmares tied to suicide

Sleep problems and nightmares are strongly associated with suicide attempts, Swedish researchers report.

Sleep problems and nightmares are strongly associated with suicide attempts, Swedish researchers report.

Nisse Sjostrom and colleagues from Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Goteborg, studied 165 people who had been admitted to the hospital after a suicide attempt.

The study, published in the January 1 issue of Sleep, found that 89 percent of the participants reported some type of sleep disturbance, with the most common disturbances being difficulties staying asleep, nightmares, and early morning awakening. Having nightmares was associated with a fivefold increase in risk for high suicidality.

Does not imply causality
"Our finding of an association between nightmares and suicidality does not imply causality," Sjostrom said in a prepared statement. "However, our findings should inspire clinicians to include questions concerning sleep disturbance and especially nightmares in the clinical assessment of suicidal patients."

Nightmares are very common, with 50 percent to 85 percent of adults reporting having a nightmare at least on occasion. They tend to become less frequent with age.

People who experience nightmares that cause anxiety or often disrupt sleep should see a sleep specialist who can diagnose the problem and make referrals to counsellors or psychologists when necessary. – (HealthDayNews)

Read more:
Sleep Centre
Depression Centre

January 2007


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Dr Alison Bentley is a general practitioner who has consulted in sleep medicine and sleep disorders, in both adults and children of all ages, for almost 30 years. She also researches and publishes on a number of sleep-related topics both in formal research journals and lay publications including as editor of Sleep Matters, an educational newsletter on sleep disorders for doctors.

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