Many people with schizophrenia have trouble going to sleep. A new study featured in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry showed that insomnia in schizophrenia patients could increase suicidal thoughts and actions and increase depression and anxiety. This study shows how important it is for those with schizophrenia to get plenty of sleep as it is crucial to their overall care.

What Happened in the Study

In the study, 1,494 individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia took part. The head of the study, Dr. Brian Miller, and his colleagues took a look at insomnia and suicidal thoughts within two weeks, suicide attempts in the past six months, and the state of their schizophrenia when they enrolled in the study. Nearly half of the patients reported problems falling asleep or not getting enough sleep, and 27% reported waking up early and not being able to fall back asleep.

Schizophrenia patients waking up too early was associated with current suicidal thoughts. Trouble falling asleep and staying asleep increased the odds of a suicide attempt in the past six months. Waking up too early was also linked with more severe schizophrenia, including symptoms of anxiety and depression. In conclusion, no matter what kind of insomnia a person may be struggling with, it negatively affects their overall health and disorder.

The Link Between Insomnia and Suicidal Thoughts in Schizophrenia Patients

Disturbances in circadian rhythms that help regulate sleep and wakefulness are known to be present in people with schizophrenia and a factor in patients’ related sleep problems. A heightened state of arousal in those hearing voices or paranoia can also be a factor. Insomnia can be a predictor of hallucinations in patients. If they hear voices saying negative things to them and interfering with their thinking and activities, it can be hard to fall back asleep.

What to Do About Insomnia in Schizophrenia Patients

The study also confirmed that less than 20% of clinicians formally evaluate schizophrenia patients for the disorder. You can incorporate certain habits into your everyday routine to help with your sleep, such as avoiding caffeine and blue light from televisions and smartphones at least an hour before bedtime. Adjustments can also be made to antipsychotic medication to treat schizophrenia since some medications, like clozapine, have sedative effects. When you do not get enough sleep, it can affect the way you think, your judgment, and your emotions. When the sleep of someone with schizophrenia improves, their schizophrenia likely will as well.

People tend not to realize how important having a good night’s sleep is. It can be even more critical if you have schizophrenia, as a lack of sleep can lead to suicidal thoughts and worsened mental health symptoms. By looking into the sedative effects of your medication, avoiding caffeine, and staying away from your TV and smartphone screens, your sleep and schizophrenia will improve. At Alta Loma, we specialize in schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. We can provide you with individualized therapy, medication management, coping skills, and more. Call us today at (866) 457-3843 for more information.


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