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Researchers have found that sleep disturbances are a more important risk factor for suicide than are mental health disorders. They found that disturbed sleep contributed more to the risk of suicide than any other factor.
The Japanese research team, led by Manami Kodaka of the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry in Tokyo concludes that identifying sleep disturbances would be more beneficial in suicide prevention than would a focus on mental illnesses and mental health history.
Kodaka and colleagues surveyed the close family members of 49 adults who had committed suicide and 145 individuals matched for gender, age and municipality.
The suicide group had a significantly higher prevalence of sleep disturbances than did controls (75.5% versus 11%). Thus the risk of suicide was 21.6 times higher for people with sleep disturbances than for those without.
The researchers note, however, that sleep time in Japan is normally shorter and the prevalence of mental health disorders tends to be lower when compared with Western countries.
"These country-dependent differences may influence the impact that sleep disturbances or mental disorders have on suicide prevention," they explain.
The study will be published in Sleep Medicine this year.
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