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Why is insomnia more dangerous than you think

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We all know how important sleep is. Fundamental for health, both from a biological and physiological point of view, it allows the body to recover, the immune system to play its role well and allows the brain to perform its cognitive functions. However, many of us suffer from insomnia; according to Vidal: “ One in three French people report suffering from insomnia “, and 20 % from chronic insomnia, c  ;#8217;i.e. “ at least three nights a week for at least three months ”. We often perceive insomnia as a simple nocturnal nuisance, even if very unpleasant.

However, new research published May 29 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry proves that periods of nighttime sleep deprivation and wakefulness can be particularly harmful. These would increase the risks of suicide and homicide.

Nocturnal awakening and risky behaviors

Nearly 19% of suicides and 36% of homicides occur at night< /strong>. These are the conclusions drawn by this team of researchers from the University of Arizona who analyzed data over a period of 15 years. They discovered that the risk of suicide increases fivefold and that of homicide increases eightfold between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.

Andrew Tubbs, main author of this study, underlines: “ Disrupted sleep can acutely impair rational thinking, which can lead to impulsive behavior in vulnerable individuals. This is why the authors proposed the “mind after midnight” hypothesis, suggesting that the #8217; Nighttime wakefulness degrades the brain's complex decision-making functions and reduces the ability to think normally.

During these hours, the&# When negative mood is at its peak, positive mood is at its lowest level. The way we evaluate risks and rewards is altered, which can lead us to rash or impulsive decisions.

Aggravating factors

Data reveals that the increased risk of violent behavior at night is particularly pronounced in adolescents and young adults, people with alcohol intoxication and those dealing with ongoing relationship conflicts. 15-24 year olds have a risk of nocturnal suicide three times higher than the average.

Another rather surprising fact: there is also an increased risk of suicide among older adults around 6 a.m. On the other hand, the risk of homicide does not vary by age, although young adults represent more than half of the victims of ;#8217;homicide.

Michael Grandner, co-lead author of the study, explains: “ The fact that these nocturnal risk patterns apply to both suicide and homicide is quite striking ”. These dangers linked to insomnia were until then largely underestimated.

Prevent for better cure

For Tubbs, conduct future in-depth research to better understand the complex brain mechanisms that predispose some individuals to these risks is very important. Just like others, to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving sleep. “Few studies have examined temporal trends in violent crime,” Tubbs wisely notes. p>

Improving sleep conditions could potentially reduce incidents of nighttime violencee, an encouraging prospect. We could also imagine the implementation of targeted awareness campaigns, highlighting the dangers inherent in insomnia.

Here is an additional study proving that a good sleep should not be neglected. Certainly, the context of the study (United States) is particular; the homicide rate in 2022 was 5.3 per 100,000 inhabitants compared to 1.2 per 100,000 in France. We therefore understand better why research in psychiatry is more important on this topic. Understanding all the risk factors is therefore of completely different importance than here. However, we should not underestimate the importance of good sleep and its potentially serious impacts on mental health and safety, whatever the geographical context.

  • Insomnia and nighttime wakefulness increase risky behaviors: homicide and suicide.
  • Aggravating factors exist in parallel: age, alcohol consumption or conflict situations.
  • Further research would be necessary to understand the predisposition of certain people to be exposed to these risks.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116