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Are Sleeping Pills Risky?

By    |   Friday, 20 Feb 2015 04:09 PM

Question: I can’t get to sleep without taking a sleeping pill. I’ve done this for years, and don’t have any health problems (I’m an 85-year-old woman), other than high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Is there any harm in doing this to get to sleep?

 Dr. Hibberd's answer:
 
Yes, this is unwise. All sleeping medications are intended for short-term use, and are generally not advised for long-term use, though many people routinely take sleeping pills — just as you describe.
While it is usual to sleep less as we age, this doesn’t mean we must supplement everyone with sleeping pills. Hypnotic sleeping pills will gradually accumulate when taken over a long time, and they do disturb healthy, memory-preserving, brain tissue-refreshing REM sleep cycles.
 
It would be wise to avoid regular use of these products also because of long-term accumulation, drug tolerance, and the potential interaction with other medications. They tend to become habit forming, and as you can tell, you now need to break the habit as well as review some other options to help you sleep without adverse long- or short-term effects seen with regular hypnotic use.
 
See your doctor to review some alternative options to correct and improve your sleep hygiene naturally — by going to sleep and waking at the same time every day, keeping your bedroom dark, and not reading, watching TV, or using personal electronics in bed at night.
 
Consider reading further on the topic of sleep hygiene and you will rapidly understand why regular sleeping pill use is unwise.

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Dr-Hibberd
All sleeping medications are intended for short-term use, and are generally not advised for long-term use.
sleeping, pills, risky
253
2015-09-20
Friday, 20 Feb 2015 04:09 PM
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