The study, conducted by Rebecca Bernert of Florida State University, focused on data that were collected among 14,456 community elders over a 10-year period. During this time frame, 21 individuals died by suicide. When each suicide was matched to 20 randomly-selected controls, it was discovered that disturbances in sleep, independent of depression, predicted an increased risk for eventual death by suicide.
"This suggests that, as a warning sign, poor sleep quality constitutes a significant and modifiable risk factor for completed suicide," said Bernert. "Evaluating sleep among at-risk patients may therefore guide and importantly inform both clinical decision-making and suicide risk assessment."