The following is excerpted from an online article posted by PsyPost.
In a new study published in BMC Psychiatry, researchers have uncovered a concerning link between sleep duration and suicidal thoughts among American teenagers. The study, which analyzed data from over a hundred thousand adolescents, reveals that inadequate sleep may significantly increase the risk of experiencing suicidal ideation and behavior among young people.
The study sought to understand whether sleep could be a significant risk factor for suicidal behaviors and whether this relationship varied across racial and ethnic groups.
The research utilized data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), a series of surveys conducted in U.S. high schools every two years. The YRBSS surveys include representative samples of high school students, providing valuable insights into adolescent health. For this study, data collected from 2007 to 2019, involving 103,525 adolescents, were analyzed.
The study measured four critical outcome variables related to suicide: suicide attempt, suicidal ideation (thoughts/fantasies), suicide plan, and injurious suicide attempt. Adolescents’ sleep duration was categorized into two groups: those with less than 8 hours of sleep per night (short sleep) and those with 8 or more hours of sleep (long sleep), in accordance with sleep health recommendations.
The researchers found that, across all racial groups, suicide ideation and behavior increased from 2007 to 2019. After adjusting for various covariates, the researchers observed a substantial association between short sleep duration and suicidal ideation/behavior. Adolescents with less than 8 hours of sleep had nearly twice the odds of experiencing suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, plans, or injurious suicide attempts compared to those with 8 or more hours of sleep.