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JAMA Network Insights
November 27, 2019

How to Identify and Fix Sleep Problems: Better Sleep, Better Mental Health

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston
  • 2Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston
JAMA Psychiatry. Published online November 27, 2019. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.3832

Sleep disturbance and neuropsychiatric illness have a bidirectional relationship, and while treatment of psychiatric illness often improves sleep, independently addressing sleep disturbance may also lead to better mental health (for a review, see study by Pigeon et al1). Furthermore, sleep complaints, whether they be insomnia, hypersomnia, restless legs syndrome, or nightmares, are often very distressing to the individual experiencing these events. Thus, their identification and treatment may not only improve the severity and course of psychiatric illness, but immediate quality of life as well. Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals are in a good position to evaluate and diagnose sleep disorders as they routinely ask about sleep in the diagnosis of psychiatric illness. Unfortunately, they often have limited training in how to assess these common complaints.

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