Suicide rates are a growing epidemic throughout the US. Just last week, the world lost two incredible artists: designer, Kate Spade, and author and travel documentarian, Anthony Bourdain. While suicide is a complex issue, with many contributing factors, researchers have identified a relationship between poor sleep and suicidal thoughts. And their findings highlight just how important sleep is for those struggling with suicidal ideation.

In a study just published last month in the journal, Psychological Medicine, researchers set out to examine how a poor night’s sleep could impact suicidal thoughts the following day. As study author, Donna Littlewood, explained, “We sought to examine the night-to-day, and day-to-night relationships between sleep disturbance and suicidal thoughts.”

They observed 51 individuals who experienced both depression and suicidal thoughts already. The study lasted one week, during which time, the scientists monitored each individual’s sleep with an autograph watch. Each individual also tracked their own suicidal thoughts in a diary for the duration of the study.

Researchers found that both short amounts of sleep and poor quality of sleep were associated with more severe thoughts of suicide the next day. 

While this study doesn’t suggest a causal relationship between a poor night’s sleep and suicidal thoughts it does highlight just how important good quality sleep is.

There are many ways to improve sleep, from addressing stress and anxiety, to keeping certain bedroom essentials nearby.

But this isn’t to say that you can address suicide ideation with quick-fix solutions. And if suicidal thoughts are something you or someone you know struggles with, know that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is always available 24/7. 

You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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