Study shows risk with sleeping pills; conclusion criticized
February 27th, 2012
06:30 PM ET

Study shows risk with sleeping pills; conclusion criticized

Common sleep medications may be linked to a shorter lifespan, according to a study released Monday in the British Medical Journal.

Researchers compared 10,500 adults who took prescription strength sleep aids with people who did not. Those who popped just one to 18 sleeping pills during the course of a year, had a 3.5 times increase risk of early death than those prescribed none. The increased jumped fivefold for people who took three sleeping pills or more per week.

"After controlling for several factors, we saw the risk rose in tandem with the more doses people consumed," says Dr. Daniel Kripke, study author and psychiatrist  at Viterbi Family Sleep Center in San Diego. "The mortality hazard was very high, it even surprised us."

But one sleep expert not affiliated with the study immediately sought to debunk the conclusions, saying it leads to unnecessary confusion to consumers.

"It is inadequate to try to associate someone who took as few as 5 pills a year at an increased risk of early death," says Dr. Russell Rosenberg, chairman of National Sleep Foundation and director of the Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine.

The control group participants did not suffer from sleep problems, and the study did not control for psychiatric disorders. "Their methodology was flawed and their control groups compare apples and oranges," says Rosenberg. 

Despite the limitations, researchers analyzed data several different ways–taking into account age, sex, weight and lifestyle–and the outcome remained the same. "More research is need to know exactly why sleeping pills are causing early death, but we believe the risks of taking sleeping pills outweigh the benefits," says Kripke.

In addition to risk of early death, participants taking sleeping pills had higher rates of asthma, cardiovascular disease, obesity and high blood pressure. Researchers weren’t able to conclude if the sleeping pills specifically contributed to the increase.

"This study, while flawed because it has a relatively small sample size and does not fully address confounding variables, reminds us of that sleeping pills are not without risks and should be used cautiously," says Dr. Bryan Bruno, acting chairman from the Department of Psychiatry at Lenox Hill Hospital, who is not affiliated with the study. "Sleep hygiene education should be emphasized more so that sleeping pills could be used less often and usually avoided on a chronic basis."

If you sleep less than 7 hours a night on a regular basis, you are building up a sleep debt that could affect your health. Cognitive behavior therapy is more successful than medications to aid in sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

It’s best to unwind for at least 45 minutes before going to bed. If your mind is racing, it’s harder to fall asleep. This includes avoiding stimulants like watching television, surfing the web, talking on the phone, or even cleaning your house. Try reading a book or magazine until you feel drowsy.

"If you can't fall asleep in 20 to 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something boring in dim light until you feel sleepy," suggests Kripke.

Also, sleep in a dark space. This is particularly important for people who work shifts that force them to sleep during daytime hours. The contrast between light during the day and dark at night helps keep your body's natural rhythms in check and will help you sleep longer. Purchasing 'black out' blinds or even using dark garbage bags over the windows can help.

"There are no perfect solutions that can be applied for everyone who has trouble sleeping," says Rosenberg. "But treatment can be personalized to suit a person's work schedule and lifestyle.”

Consult a sleep physician if you have three or more sleepless nights a week that persists more than one month, or have excessive daytime sleepiness or snore loudly.

soundoff (388 Responses)
  1. RfvbZisse

    indian cialis https://cileve.com/ – cialissite:au cialis\\

    April 29, 2021 at 00:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. mefloquine

    chloroquine moa https://aralenchloroquinex.com/# chloroquinolone malaria

    April 29, 2021 at 02:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RfvbZisse

    cialis black online https://cileve.com/ – original cialis pills cialis black pills

    April 29, 2021 at 07:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. quineprox kratom chloroquine

    chloroquine drug class https://aralenchloroquinex.com/# cloriquin

    April 29, 2021 at 23:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. BbdfMile

    vardenafil vs viagra https://gensitecil.com/ is viagra safe for 20 year olds

    April 30, 2021 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. LrbsEncox

    levitra forum http://uslevitraanna.com/ levitra football

    April 30, 2021 at 21:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. JbsdEncox

    Topamax https://onlinecanda21.com/ best price prescription drugs

    May 1, 2021 at 01:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. canadian generic pills

    canadian generic pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian customs pills vitamins

    May 1, 2021 at 22:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. canadian pharmacy for cialis

    canadian pharmacy no perscription generic cialis https://canadacialisstore.com/ cialis, sale, canadian pharm.

    May 2, 2021 at 01:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. LhdvZisse

    cialis 20mg price https://asciled.com/ how to buy cialis online?

    May 2, 2021 at 03:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. AbdgEncox

    Plavix http://canadianeve21.com/ – list of legitimate canadian pharmacies Amoxil

    May 2, 2021 at 18:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. LbsoZisse

    cialis black 800mg http://ucialisdas.com/ cialis 20mg

    May 3, 2021 at 06:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RebfZisse

    cialis generic for sale http://rcialisgl.com/ – coupons for cialis cialis dapoxetine

    May 3, 2021 at 23:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. LebnEncox

    Dostinex super pharmacy 24 hour pharmacy near me

    May 4, 2021 at 04:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RebfZisse

    cialis singapore buy https://rcialisgl.com/ – buy original cialis mail order cialis

    May 4, 2021 at 07:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. JebgEncox

    pain relief http://pharmacylo.com/ discount pharmacy online

    May 4, 2021 at 09:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. GtnbCrulk

    best viagra http://jokviagra.com/ how long does 25mg viagra last

    May 5, 2021 at 08:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. AnooEncox

    consecuencias de tomar viagra http://llviagra.com/ diabГЁte et viagra

    May 5, 2021 at 19:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. LbsoZisse

    generic cialis paypal http://ucialisdas.com/ cialis paypall

    May 6, 2021 at 02:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. can plaquenil cause cancer

    lupus weight gain plaquenil https://hydroplaquenil.com/# plaquenil autoimmune

    May 6, 2021 at 06:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. chloroquine tablets

    chloroquinone https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chloroquinone

    May 6, 2021 at 07:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. dapoxetine

    dapoxetine india buy priligy online

    May 7, 2021 at 02:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. FmrfEncox

    buying cialis online canadian order https://cialisee.com/ – cialis no perscrption cialis daily online

    May 7, 2021 at 19:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. FmrfEncox

    genaric cialis with dapoxetine https://cialisee.com/ – cialis cialis

    May 7, 2021 at 23:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. BbshMile

    viagra cost per pill http://loxviagra.com/ cost of viagra at costco

    May 8, 2021 at 01:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. JebgEncox

    Aldactone https://pharmacylo.com/ buying from canadian pharmacies

    May 8, 2021 at 04:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. GtnbCrulk

    buy viagra online without prescription http://jokviagra.com/ watermelon natures viagra

    May 8, 2021 at 05:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. AnooEncox

    comparison viagra and cialis https://llviagra.com/ – jamu viagra viagra effects side effects

    May 9, 2021 at 08:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. BbshMile

    viagra pills online http://loxviagra.com/ – black market viagra viagra without ed

    May 9, 2021 at 09:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. LebnEncox

    Tadalis SX viagra professional online canadian pharmacies

    May 9, 2021 at 14:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. LbsoZisse

    buy brand cialis online https://ucialisdas.com/ – cialis no prescription arizona cialis generic online uk

    May 10, 2021 at 05:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Marquetta Trader

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these Second Life articles and blogs


    May 10, 2021 at 07:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RebfZisse

    buy cialis canada https://rcialisgl.com/ – best price on cialis cialis in egypt

    May 10, 2021 at 21:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. LebnEncox

    ed treatment Seroflo Periactin

    May 10, 2021 at 23:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RebfZisse

    cialis 5mg http://rcialisgl.com/ female cialis

    May 11, 2021 at 05:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Nathaniel Bourjolly

    This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though


    May 11, 2021 at 20:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. JebgEncox

    buy medication without an rx Duricef Trazodone

    May 12, 2021 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. GtnbCrulk

    viagra buy https://jokviagra.com/ is cialis better than viagra

    May 12, 2021 at 19:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. AnooEncox

    viagra pocelui zippy https://llviagra.com/ viagra sell

    May 12, 2021 at 22:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. LbsoZisse

    cheap cialis https://ucialisdas.com/ free shipping for cialis

    May 13, 2021 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. FmrfEncox

    buy brand cialis overnight https://cialisee.com/ wallmart cialis

    May 14, 2021 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. FmrfEncox

    generic cialis india safe https://cialisee.com/ – cialis onlilne buy cialis

    May 14, 2021 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. BbshMile

    viagra discount coupons https://loxviagra.com/ when do you take viagra

    May 15, 2021 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. GtnbCrulk

    what does female viagra do http://jokviagra.com/ viagra for young men

    May 15, 2021 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. AnooEncox

    can you mix viagra and xanax https://llviagra.com/ can you buy viagra otc in canada

    May 15, 2021 at 23:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. JebgEncox

    best drugstore face wash Lisinopril Imodium

    May 16, 2021 at 01:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. LbsoZisse

    cialis https://ucialisdas.com/ – best online to buy cialis cialis ontario

    May 16, 2021 at 12:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Carrol Mency

    I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/07/passenger-on-flight-253-gets-award-for-brave-actions/


    May 16, 2021 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. storno brzinol

    Some genuinely nice and utilitarian information on this website, too I believe the layout has wonderful features.


    May 16, 2021 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. BbshMile

    viagra over the counter http://loxviagra.com/ pfizer viagra price

    May 16, 2021 at 19:44 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.