The link between suicide and insomnia: theoretical mechanisms

Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2013 Sep;15(9):389. doi: 10.1007/s11920-013-0389-9.


Insomnia has been established as a risk factor for depression and mental illness for decades, but a growing body of evidence has recently exposed insomnia to be an independent risk factor for suicide that encompasses all age ranges. This discovery has invigorated investigation to elucidate the relationship between insomnia and suicide, and over 20 studies reinforcing this association in adults have been published since 2010 alone. This article analyzes relevant research and emphasizes studies published within the last three years with the intent of proposing theoretical mechanisms explaining the link between suicide and insomnia. These mechanisms may then be used as targets for future investigation of treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dreams / psychology
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Serotonin / physiology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / metabolism
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / psychology*
  • Suicide / psychology*


  • Serotonin