Year: 2017 Source: EPMA Journal. (2011). 2(3): 295-307. DOI 10.1007/s13167-011-0101-2 SIEC No: 20170336

Suicidality and suicide has been associated with many risk factors, while recent clinical and epidemiological studies increasingly point to a potential link between sleep loss or sleep disturbances and suicidality. This review on studies of sleep disturbances associated with suicidality, i.e., suicidal ideation, suicide attempt and completed suicide suggests a frequent association especially with insomnia and nightmares but also hypersomnia and sleep panic attacks. In suicidal insomniacs with comorbid psychiatric disorders, there is some evidence for an even independent predictive nature of sleep problems for suicidality. Considerations on the shared neurobiology, risk assessment and treatment options complement the overview. Thus, sleep disturbances may qualify as an individual treatable target of personalised medicine in the clinical routine as well as in suicide prevention programmes. A more detailed assessment of sleep problems and identification of specific risk domains in primary or secondary prevention of suicidality seem to be a future area of high importance.