Previous research has identified insomnia as a predictor for the onset of depression. The aim of this meta-analysis is to investigate whether insomnia also predicts the onset of other mental disorders.
Longitudinal studies were eligible for inclusion if they investigated insomnia at baseline (including nighttime- and daytime-symptoms) as a predictor of the later onset of psychopathology within a follow-up time-frame of at least 12 mo. Thirteen primary studies were included. The results suggest that insomnia is a significant predictor for the onset of depression (10 studies, OR 2.83, CI 1.55-5.17), anxiety (six studies, OR 3.23, CI 1.52-6.85), alcohol abuse (two studies, OR 1.35, CI 1.08-1.67, and psychosis (one study, OR 1.28, CI 1.03-1.59). The overall risk of bias in the primary studies was moderate. This meta-analysis provides evidence that insomnia increases the risk for psychopathology.
A future research agenda should include more prospective studies using established diagnostic criteria, assessing insomnia at baseline and including long-term follow-up intervals evaluating a wider range of mental disorders. In addition, prospective long-term interventional studies investigating the efficacy of insomnia treatment for the prevention of mental disorders are called for.