Press release: Sleep and Mental Health

journalists writing in notepads

Do mental disorders trigger insomnia, or is it the other way round?

Today it’s thought psychiatric illnesses are themselves worsened or triggered by poor sleep

A ‘clear association between sleep issues and psychosis’

Embargo: 13 March 2023, 7pm

We would like to invite you to a lecture on Sleep and Mental Health by Professor Guy Leschziner in which he will discuss the bi-directional nature of insomnia and psychiatric disorders.

Leschziner will explain how sleep disturbance was once seen as a symptom or consequence of psychiatric disorders, but today it is also thought that psychiatric illnesses are also “triggered or exacerbated by sleep disturbance.”

 “Sleep is important for our emotional regulation, the perception of pain, and our emotional interpretation of neutral stimuli, amongst a myriad of other neurobiological and physiological functions,” he will say.  “Mental illness is found in about 15% of normal sleepers, but these rates are much higher in people with insomnia (40%) and profound sleepiness (hypersomnia) (46%).”

Leschziner will look at a number of psychiatric disorders where insomnia increases the risk of developing those conditions, including depression, schizophrenia, anxiety and PTSD.

In depression, studies have shown the treatment of insomnia also results in an improvement in depressive symptoms. And in schizophrenia “there is a clear association between sleep issues and pyschosis…insomnia correlates strongly with particular types of psychotic experience such as paranoia, hallucinations and thought disorganisation….80% of patients with a first episode of psychosis report at least one sleep disorder, with an average of three different types of sleep problems.”

Finally, Leschziner will turn to treatment for sleep disorders in psychiatric disorders – where he will say “evidence points to the importance of identifying sleep disorders and their treatment independent of psychiatric therapy”. He will say that CBTi is the “gold standard treatment” for insomnia though there may be other non-drug based options.


Notes to Editors

You can sign up to watch the hybrid lecture online or in person; or email us for an embargoed transcript or speak to Professor Leschziner: / 07799 738 439

Read more about Professor Leschziner