Year: 2018 Source: Psychological Medicine. (2018). SIEC No: 20180293

Background. Sleep problems are a modifiable risk factor for suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Yet, sparse research has examined temporal relationships between sleep disturbance, suicidal
ideation, and psychological factors implicated in suicide, such as entrapment. This is the first
in-the-moment investigation of relationships between suicidal ideation, objective and subjective
sleep parameters, and perceptions of entrapment.
Methods. Fifty-one participants with current suicidal ideation completed week-long ecological
momentary assessments. An actigraph watch was worn for the duration of the study, which
monitored total sleep time, sleep efficiency, and sleep latency. Daily sleep diaries captured subjective
ratings of the same sleep parameters, with the addition of sleep quality. Suicidal ideation
and entrapment were measured at six quasi-random time points each day. Multi-level
random intercept models and moderation analyses were conducted to examine the links
between sleep, entrapment, and suicidal ideation, adjusting for anxiety and depression severity.
Results. Analyses revealed a unidirectional relationship whereby short sleep duration (both
objective and subjective measures), and poor sleep quality, predicted the higher severity of
next-day suicidal ideation. However, there was no significant association between daytime suicidal
ideation and sleep the following night. Sleep quality moderated the relationship between
pre-sleep entrapment and awakening levels of suicidal ideation.
Conclusions. This is the first study to report night-to-day relationships between sleep disturbance,
suicidal ideation, and entrapment. Findings suggest that sleep quality may alter the
strength of the relationship between pre-sleep entrapment and awakening suicidal ideation.
Clinically, results underscore the importance of assessing and treating sleep disturbance
when working with those experiencing suicidal ideation.