A new Norwegian study indicates that adolescents with sleep problems such as insomnia may be more likely harm themselves intentionally.
Self-harm such as cutting and burning is a growing problem. This new study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, included self-reports from 10,220 teenagers (16-19 years old) in Western Norway on mental health, including a comprehensive assessment of sleep and self-harm. The research found that adolescents with sleep problems were significantly more likely to report self-harm than those without sleep problems.
About seven percent of those surveyed met the criteria for self-harm, and more than half (55%) of those reported harming themselves on two or more occasions. The risk of self-harming was four times higher among the 16-19 years old adolescents who fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for insomnia.
To prevent adolescents from self-harming, the researchers suggest interventions such as incorporating healthy sleeping habits as a part of the treatment.