[Evaluation of insomnia as a risk factor for suicide]

Rev Fac Cien Med Univ Nac Cordoba. 2017;74(1):37-45.
[Article in Spanish]


Objective: Perform a non-systematic review of the literature to describe the relationship between insomnia and suicide and the findings of these studies.

Methods: A search was conducted in PubMed, Medline, SciELO, LILACS, and Cochrane Library OVID data combining MeSH terms: "Suicide and sleep initiation and maintenance disorders".

Results: Insomnia has been related to suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and suicide deaths in cross sectional studies since more than a decade. Suicide is one of the main causes of death.

Discussion: There are multiple risk factors for committing suicide; some are unmodifiable, such as age, male gender and Caucasian ethnicity; and others are potentially modifiable, such as symptoms of depression, substance abuse and sleep disturbances. Among these disturbances, insomnia has been proven to hold a stronger relation to suicide attempts and deaths, although nightmares have also been associated. Actually, insomnia is considered a stronger predictor of lethal suicide attempts than the presence of a suicide plan.

Conclusions: Here lays the importance of why physicians must learn to detect and evaluate insomnia as a sign of alarm and a risk factor for suicide, no matter what illness the patient suffers from.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / complications*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / psychology
  • Suicide / psychology*