A Good Night’s Sleep Can Prevent Suicide Among Older People

View of a retired senior woman sleeping in bedWith the recent tragic death of Hollywood star Robin Williams still fresh in our minds, a focus on mental health has been brought to the forefront of our attention. But the newest information seems to say that it could actually be our sleeping habits that are greatly effecting our overall happiness.

We all know that we don’t exactly feel ourselves when we’re under slept, but the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says that sleep complaints are actually one of the top ten warning signs for suicide.

A new study by the Stanford University School of Medicine found that over a ten-year period of study, people with poor sleep quality and no other depressive symptoms demonstrated a 1.2 times greater risk for death by suicide.

This study in particular monitored older adults, a group of 420 with an average age of 75, over the course of ten years. Older adults are more likely to have sleep complaints and a higher rate of suicide. Twenty of the participants did end up killing themselves during the observation period.

Using Massachusetts statistics as a representation of national trends, the age group with the highest rate of suicides for both men and women is age 45 to 54 years old. This age group represents 26% of total suicides, and an increasing suicide rate by an average of 6.4% per year. Additionally, the state’s male suicide rate exceeds females’ 3-to-1.

Using the Quality Sleep Index, researchers found that difficulty falling asleep and non-restorative sleep were the two primary complaints associated with the increased risk for suicide. Even without signs for depression, researchers found that people with disturbed sleep correlated with considerable risk for severe suicidal behaviors.

It’s important to talk to your friends and loved ones, especially older adults, about their sleeping habits, as well as looking out for other warning signs for suicide. But just because you or someone you know is depressed as a result of not sleeping well, doesn’t mean that a good night’s sleep isn’t possible.

The quality of your bed actually plays an important role in the quality of your sleep. A 2009 study showed that sleeping in new beds resulted in “a significant decrease in stress” in the study’s participants. If you’re worried about yourself or a loved one experiencing night after night of poor-quality sleep, it’s a good idea to invest in a new mattress that can make all the difference.

“It’s important to buy a name brand bed and know what you’re getting, for example King Koil beds are recognized by The American Chiropractic Association,” says Greg Majercin, Sales Manager at Carolina Factory Outlet. “Owning a quality bed that matches your sleeping preferences is important to getting a good nights sleep, which leaves you waking up refreshed and leaves you in a better mood for the rest of the day.”

Suicide is a preventable mental health issue that takes 1 million lives every year, and kills 100 Americans every day. As the baby boomer generation reaches an age at greater risk for suicide, more and more lives are lost every year. Making every effort to get a good night’s sleep will make waking up the next morning that much easier.