Insomnia occurs frequently in the clinical course of schizophrenia. A growing literature has found associations between insomnia, suicidal ideation and behavior, and psychopathology in schizophrenia. We explored associations between sleep problems, suicidal ideation, and psychopathology in a cohort of patients with first-episode psychosis.
We performed a secondary analysis of data for n = 403 subjects with data from the Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode study using regression models.
The prevalence of sleep problems and suicidal ideation at baseline was 57% and 15%, respectively. After controlling for potential confounders, in the study baseline sleep problems were associated with increased odds of suicidal ideation with evidence of a dose-dependent relationship (OR = 2.25, 95% CI 1.15-4.41, P = .018). Over 24 months, sleep problems at any time point were associated with an over 3-fold increased odds of concurrent suicidal ideation (OR = 3.21, 95% CI 1.45-7.14, P = .004). Subjects with persistent sleep problems were almost 14 times more likely to endorse suicidal ideation at least once over the study than those without sleep problems (OR = 13.8, 95% CI 6.5-53.4, P < .001). Sleep problems were also a predictor of higher Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale total (β = 0.13-0.22), positive (β = 0.14-0.25), and general (β = 0.16-0.27) subscale scores at baseline and multiple follow-up visits (P < .01 for each).
Sleep problems are highly prevalent and associated with suicidal ideation and greater psychopathology in first-episode psychosis. Formal assessment and treatment of insomnia appear relevant to the clinical care of patients with psychosis as a predictor of suicidal ideation and symptom severity.

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