Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

OBJECTIVE: Mood instability is common in the general population. Mood instability is a precursor to mental illness and associated with a range of negative health outcomes. Sleep disturbance appears to be closely linked with mood instability. This study assesses the association between mood instability and sleep disturbance and the link with suicidal ideation and behaviour in a general population sample in England. METHOD: The Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, 2007 collected detailed information about mental health symptoms and correlates in a representative sample of adult household residents living in England ( n = 7303). Mood instability was assessed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis-II. Sleep problems were defined as sleeping more than usual or less than usual during the past month. Other dependent variables included medication use and suicidal ideation and behaviour (response rate 57%). Generalized linear modelling was used to estimate the prevalence of mood instability and sleep problems. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios. All estimates were weighted. RESULTS: The prevalence of mood instability was 14.7% (95% confidence interval [13.6%, 15.7%]). Sleep problems occurred in 69.8% (95% confidence interval: [66.6%, 73.1%]) of those with mood instability versus 37.6% (95% confidence interval: [36.2%, 39.1%]) of those without mood instability. The use of sedating and non-sedating medications did not influence the association. Sleep problems were significantly associated with suicidal ideation and behaviour even after adjusting for mood instability. CONCLUSION: Sleep problems are highly prevalent in the general population, particularly among those with mood instability. Sleep problems are strongly associated with suicidal ideation and behaviour. Treatments that target risk and maintenance factors that transcend diagnostic boundaries, such as therapies that target sleep disturbance, may be particularly valuable for preventing and addressing complications related to mood instability such as suicide.

Original publication




Journal article


Aust N Z J Psychiatry

Publication Date





822 - 828


Mood instability, cross-sectional studies, psychiatric illness, sleep problems, suicidality, Adult, Affect, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, England, Female, Health Surveys, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Sleep Wake Disorders, Suicide, Young Adult