For years, doctors have understood sleep problems as a common symptom of mental illness. But can treating sleep, itself, help to improve a mental health condition? It’s a question that’s intriguing researchers after recent studies have linked poor sleep quality to the risk of suicide.
Menninger researchers Michelle Patriquin
, PhD, and Katrina Rufino
, PhD, are contributing to this body of research, publishing articles in numerous journals and launching efforts to learn more about sleep’s connection to mental health.
As part of their work, Drs. Patriquin and Rufino are developing an inpatient treatment manual focused on cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). CBT is a common type of psychotherapy that helps patients better understand and change their behavior. CBT-I aims to help patients improve their sleep habits while incorporating relaxation techniques and reducing sleep-related worries.
A pilot study will be conducted on one of Menninger’s adult inpatient units to determine whether the CBT-I treatment improves sleep quality and reduces suicidal thoughts among patients who admit to The Clinic with a high risk of suicide. The study will be conducted in partnership with The Clinic’s affiliate Baylor College of Medicine and is supported by the George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation.