Poor sleep quality and nightmares are associated with non-suicidal self-injury in adolescents.Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2017 Mar; 26(3):271-279.EC
Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is prevalent and is associated with increased risk of suicidal behavior in adolescents. This study examined which sleep variables are associated with NSSI, independently from demographics and mental health problems in Chinese adolescents. Participants consisted of 2090 students sampled from three high schools in Shandong, China and had a mean age of 15.49 years. Participants completed a sleep and health questionnaire to report their demographic and family information, sleep duration and sleep problems, impulsiveness, hopelessness, internalizing and externalizing problems, and NSSI. A series of regression analyses were conducted to examine the associations between sleep variables and NSSI. Of the sample, 12.6 % reported having ever engaged in NSSI and 8.8 % engaged during the last year. Univariate logistic analyses demonstrated that multiple sleep variables including short sleep duration, insomnia symptoms, poor sleep quality, sleep insufficiency, unrefreshed sleep, sleep dissatisfaction, daytime sleepiness, fatigue, snoring, and nightmares were associated with increased risk of NSSI. After adjusting for demographic and mental health variables, NSSI was significantly associated with sleeping <6 h per night, poor sleep quality, sleep dissatisfaction, daytime sleepiness, and frequent nightmares. Stepwise logistic regression model demonstrated that poor sleep quality (OR = 2.18, 95 % CI = 1.37-3.47) and frequent nightmares (OR = 2.88, 95 % CI = 1.45-5.70) were significantly independently associated with NSSI. In conclusion, while multiple sleep variables are associated with NSSI, poor sleep quality and frequent nightmares are independent risk factors of NSSI. These findings may have important implications for further research of sleep self-harm mechanisms and early detection and prevention of NSSI in adolescents.