Sleep duration and insomnia symptoms as risk factors for suicidal ideation in a nationally representative sample

Subhajit Chakravorty, H. Y. Katy Siu, Linden Lalley-Chareczko, Gregory K. Brown, James C. Findley, Michael L. Perlis, Michael A. Grandner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective: Suicidal behavior (suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and suicide completion) has been increasingly linked with difficulty initiating sleep, maintaining sleep, and early morning awakenings. However, the relationship between suicidal behavior and sleep duration abnormalities is unclear, especially at the population level. The present study used a nationally representative sample to examine the association of suicidal ideation with extreme sleep durations and insomnia symptoms. Method: Cross-sectional data from adult respondents (≥18 years of age, N=6,228) were extracted from the 2007-2008 wave of the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey. Ordinal logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate the relationship of suicidal ideation with sleep duration, global insomnia, and individual insomnia symptoms in models adjusted for sociodemographic, socioeconomic, and health-related covariates. Results: Suicidal ideation was associated with abnormalities of sleep duration. This relationship ceased to exist once the model was adjusted for depressive symptoms. As expected, an increased level of suicidal ideation was consistently associated with insomnia. Of the insomnia symptoms, difficulty maintaining sleep was found to be the most predictive of suicidal ideation, followed by difficulty initiating sleep (P<.05). Conclusions: Abnormalities of sleep duration and continuity should prompt a clinical assessment for suicide risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-422
Number of pages21
JournalPrimary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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