Think burning the candle at both ends has no consequences? Think again. Not getting enough sleep increases the risks of suicidal thoughts, planning a suicide, or attempting it, according to researchers.

The more types of sleep disturbances a person has, the more likely he or she will think about ending the misery–literally. Waking up too early, not being able to fall asleep (insomnia), or lying awake at night are all associated with suicidal thoughts. Researchers set out to determine how much so–they looked at the which sleep disturbances were linked to greater thoughts of suicide and found that waking up too early was the worst.

People who consistently woke up two hours earlier than desired were twice as likely to have had suicidal thoughts or have planned a suicide, and were nearly three times more likely to have actually tried to kill themselves. The researchers believe that the lack of sleep leads to cognitive dysfunction and a sense of hopelessness, and that the hormone serotonin likely plays a role.

Well, this is no surprise to me, as I know exactly what I feel like when I get no sleep. Any parent of young children can probably relate to being dead tired. My feeling is that if it weren’t for the love of the kids–and an enormous sense of responsibility–perhaps I’d feel the desire to end it all, too, when the sleep evades me. Not getting sufficient sleep sucks! It’s enough to drive you batty. And it’s exactly that need for regular, adequate sleep that makes it one of my Six Keys to Optimal Health. This study proves what I’ve learned the hard way–lose enough sleep and you’ll eventually lose your mind. It’s that simple.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Nick Campos - All Rights Reserved.