News Release
  May 31, 2013


Jessica Mikulski


Perelman School of Medicine

This release is available online at

More Sleep Reduces Suicide Risk in Those with Insomnia, According to Penn Medicine Study

Each Additional Hour of Sleep Lowers Risk by 72 percent

PHILADELPHIA — Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have found that more sleep is associated with lower suicide risk in those with insomnia. The findings showed that in those with some suicide risk – as exemplified by self-reports of suicidal thoughts – there was a 72 percent drop in the likelihood of moderate or high risk of suicide for every hour of sleep that persons reported getting at night.

The research team from the Penn Behavioral Sleep Medicine Research Program merged and assessed data from two studies of insomnia that included 471 total subjects. Of the total subjects, 73 indicated suicide risk, with 55 classified as low suicide risk and 18 classified as moderate or high risk. Using a statistical analysis, the authors determined that variations in suicide risk were successfully differentiated using sleep duration. As such, increased sleep duration was associated with lower likelihood of moderate/high suicide risk, versus low risk.

The authors note that the results highlight the importance of sleep for our mental and physical well-being. Insomnia is a common disorder, with about 1 in 3 Americans experiencing symptoms at any given time, and about 1 in 10 Americans probably meets criteria for an insomnia disorder that should be treated. Insomnia is an important medical condition that not only has implications for health, functioning during the day, and quality of well-being, but it may also lead to increased risk of suicide.

The study is scheduled to be presented June 4 at SLEEP 2013, the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

Penn authors include Linden Oliver, Andrea Segal, Florda Priftanji, Michael Grandner, PhD, and Michael Perlis, PhD.

For more information, please see the American Academy of Sleep Medicine news release.


Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 17 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2013 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -- recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2013, Penn Medicine provided $814 million to benefit our community.