8. 2023 research reports risk
Here I'm sharing a most concerning research paper just published in 2023. It gives us still more evidence that sleeping pills carry serious risks with prolonged use.
This research study was very large and well-designed, based on analysis of government data.
More than 480,000 people were followed in a health screening program in Taiwan. Information about their general health data had been collected, including the average length of their nightly sleep, and their use of sleeping pills.
Researchers analyzed this mass of data. They calculated mortality risk (people’s average life expectancy), after factoring in the length of their nightly sleep.
Their research showed that people who slept 6-8 hours nightly had the longest average life span.
The scientists then factored in the effect of sleeping pills.
They wanted to study the effect of sleeping pill use in large groups of people who were all sleeping for about the same length of time. How did some people’s regular use of sleeping pills affect their life expectancy?
Here’s what the scientists found:
"With 6-8 hours of daily sleep, sleeping pill nonusers had the lowest mortality risk. But sleeping pill users, even with this same optimal amount of sleep, had a 55% higher mortality risk than nonusers…. On average, life expectancy in individuals using sleeping pills (vs. nonusers) was shorter by 5.3 years in men and 5.7 years in women.
This study suggests that the use of sleeping pills is associated with an increased risk of mortality and shortened life expectancy… Regular users should be aware of potential harms from sleeping pills."
Association of sleep duration and sleeping pill use with mortality and life expectancy: A cohort study of 484,916 adults
Yu Sun MD PhD, et al ; Sleep Health June 2023
Self-Enquiry Questions for Sleeping Pills Users
Here's some standard questions intended to help people recognize problems of medication dependency and withdrawal. If you’re concerned about your sleeping pill prescription, discuss this with your prescribing doctor.
Good reasons to discuss your prescription with your prescribing doctor:
> your sleeping pill prescription is extending beyond 3 weeks
> you take a sleeping pill for most of the times when you want to sleep
> when the medication feels less effective, you increase the dose
> you’ve tried to quit, but you’ve found you can’t
> you feel ‘craving’ for the medication
> you recognize negative consequences from the medication but you continue to take it
> you’re getting new prescriptions and refills from more than one provider
> you notice memory loss
> you’ve had falls and other accidents
> you’re combining the drug with alcohol or other psychoactive drugs
A FINAL HINT
Research shows that freedom from sleeping pills is entirely possible, even after many years of dependence.
See that optimistic message at:
To your natural happiness!