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Depressed people are more likely to consider suicide after poor sleep

Depressed people are more likely to consider suicide after a bad night’s sleep, study finds

  • Insufficient, and poor quality, shut eye make patients consider taking their lives
  • Previous research suggests insomnia makes people more tense and irritable
  • It also reduces their motivation to exercise, which eases depressive symptoms
  • Experts believe depressed patients should be treated to help improve their sleep
  • Up to 10% of people in England will experience depression at some point
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Depressed people are more likely to have suicidal thoughts after a bad night’s sleep, new research suggests.

Not getting enough shut eye and poor-quality sleep both make people with the mental-health condition more likely to consider taking their own lives, a study found.

Previous research suggests insomnia can cause people to become more tense and irritable, as well as less motivated to exercise, which has been shown to ease depressive symptoms.

Study author Donna Littlewood, from the University of Manchester, said: ‘Sleep plays a hugely important role in our physical and mental wellbeing. When we sleep, our bodies recover from the physical and mental exertion of the day.’

She adds depressed patients should be treated to help improve their sleep.

Up to 10 per cent of people in England will experience depression at some point in their lives.  

Depressed people are more likely to have suicidal thoughts after a bad night’s sleep (stock)


Hormonal birth control does not increase women’s risk of depression, research suggested in February 2017.

Contrary to popular belief, contraceptive pills, implants or injections do not make women more likely to suffer from the mental-health condition, a study found.

Lead author Dr Brett Worly from Ohio State University, said: ‘Depression is a concern for a lot of women when they’re starting hormonal contraception.

‘Based on our findings, this side effect shouldn’t be a concern for most women, and they should feel comfortable knowing they’re making a safe choice.’ 

The researchers blame platforms such as social media for making contraception complications seem more common than they are.

Dr Worly said: ‘We live in a media-savvy age where if one or a few people have severe side effects, all of a sudden, that gets amplified to every single person.

‘The biggest misconception is that birth control leads to depression. For most patients that’s just not the case.’

The scientists add, however, certain women are at a greater risk of the mental-health disorder and should be monitored closely. 

Dr Worly said: ‘Adolescents will sometimes have a higher risk of depression, not necessarily because of the medicine they’re taking, but because they have that risk to start with.

‘For those patients, it’s important that they have a good relationship with their healthcare provider so they can get the appropriate screening done – regardless of the medications they’re on.’ 

The researchers reviewed thousands of studies investigating the link between contraceptives and people’s mental health.

Such studies included various methods of contraception, including injections, implants and pills. 

Participants in the trials were made up of teenagers, women with a history of depression and those who had given birth in the past six weeks. 

Sleep should be considered when treating depression  

Ms Littlewood said: ‘Many people with mental-health problems experience sleep problems, but sleep can be treated effectively using psychological and pharmacological interventions.

‘This study highlights that it is important for clinicians to provide treatment for sleep problems, when working with people who experience suicidal thoughts.’ 

Results further suggest having suicidal thoughts during a particular day does not affect patients’ sleep that night.

How the research was carried out 

The researchers analysed 51 people who were considering suicide.

The participants wore watches that monitored their total time asleep and how long it took them to nod off for one week.

They completed diaries that recorded their sleep quality. 

The participants’ suicidal thoughts were monitored at six random points every day.  

Eating fruits and vegetables slashes the risk of depression by more than 10%

This comes after research released last February suggested eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains slashes people’s risk of depression by more than 10 per cent.

Following the so-called ‘DASH diet’ reduces people’s likelihood of developing the mental-health disorder by up to 11 per cent, a study by Rush University, Chicago found.

Those who eat a typical western diet, which is rich in processed foods and sugar, are more at risk of suffering depression, the research adds.

Researchers add further studies are required to determine the association between diet and mental health, but add simple lifestyle changes may be preferred over medication to control such conditions.

Previous research suggests eating lots of fresh produce benefits people’s mental health by improving their moods, giving them more energy and helping them to think clearly. 

If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the Samaritans here.  

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