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Study Links Sleep Problems, Nightmares to Suicide Attempts

Nightmares associated with fivefold increase in suicide attempts

THURSDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Sleep disturbances and nightmares are common among people who have attempted suicide, according to study findings published in the Jan. 1 issue of the journal Sleep.

Nisse Sjostrom, R.N., of Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Goteborg, Sweden, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study of 165 patients who were admitted to a health care facility following a suicide attempt. Patients rated their sleep using the Uppsala Sleep Inventory and utilized the Comprehensive Psychopathological Self-Rating Scale to assess symptom burden.

Researchers found that 89 percent of patients reported some type of sleep disturbances including difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, nightmares and early morning wakening. Of note, patients who experienced nightmares were five times more likely to attempt suicide, the report indicates.

The link between nightmare and suicide does not imply causality, the researchers point out. That said, "our findings suggest that questions concerning sleep disturbance and nightmares should be addressed in the clinical assessment of suicidal patients," the study authors conclude.

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