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Study Says Suicide Rates Are Higher After Midnight

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that suicides are more likely to occur between midnight and 4 a.m. than any other time of day.

According to a news release from the University of Pennsylvania Health System, the study was published in an online supplement to the journal Sleep and will be presented at an upcoming medical conference. Researchers used data from the National Violent Death Reporting System and the American Time Use Survey to attempt to determine the rate of suicide among those Americans who are awake at a given time.

The study included data on 35,332 suicides and found that, the scaled rate of average suicides per hour was 10.27 percent after midnight, compared to just 2.13 percent between 6 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. Researchers say that previous studies, which indicated that more suicides occur during the day, fail to account for the much higher percentage of Americans being awake than during the late night and early morning hours.

Michael Perlis, PhD and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Director of the Penn Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program suggested that treatment for chronic insomnia may be one way to reduce suicide rates.

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