Insomnia and Suicide

What is insomnia?

A person has insomnia if it takes them more than 15 minutes to fall asleep, they wake up for periods of more than 15 to 30 minutes during the night, or they sleep less than 5 hours per night. 


 There are two types of insomnia: acute insomnia, which is short term and may be caused by a stressful life event, and chronic insomnia, which occurs at least three times per week for at least three months.

What are the symptoms of insomnia?

Insomnia symptoms include:

  • Trouble falling asleep at night
  • Waking up earlier than expected
  • Waking up during the night
  • Feeling tired after a night’s sleep

What are the causes of insomnia?

A number of things can trigger insomnia, including:

  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Sleep apnea
  • Irregular working hours (e.g., working day and night shifts)
  • One or more stressful events
  • Jet lag
  • Use of stimulant drugs or medications

What are the effects of insomnia?

Insomnia can lead to all sorts of problems, including:

  • Obesity
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Reduced performance at work or school
  • Weakened immune system
  • Increased long-term risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

Do you have insomnia and suicidal thoughts?

People who suffer from insomnia may have suicidal thoughts. If this is the case for you, consult the following sections:

01 Taking stock of your mental health

The first step toward taking back control is identifying what’s causing your suicidal thoughts.

02 Taking care of yourself

There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and regain your balance when you’re having suicidal thoughts.

03 Talking about it with your loved ones

Asking for help from your family and friends isn’t always easy. There are different ways of going about it.

04 Finding support services

Every day, all sorts of people contact support services to get the help they need.

What to do if you have insomnia

If you have any symptoms of insomnia and it’s affecting your psychological well-being, first call Info-Social at 811, option 2, to discuss your situation with a psychosocial worker and be referred, if necessary, to resources in your area that can provide support.

For an assessment and follow-up with a healthcare professional, consult a general practitioner (your family doctor, for example), a psychologist or contact your local CLSC.

Other resources can help people with insomnia.

Advice for people with insomnia

What I'm going through...