The Harm of Sleep Aids

While it has been argued that getting an adequate amount of sleep is beneficial to older adults, forcing that type of sleeping habit may do more harm than good. Because studies have shown that sleep habits change as we age, some physicians believe that introducing sleep aids to maintain a regular 7 to 9 hour sleep each night may reduce the patient’s ability to function normally during waking hours. In his recent blog post, Dr. Alvin Lin analyzes the association between non-benzodiazepine and an increased risk for hip fractures. A similar concern was aired by the FDA last month, when they recommended lowering doses of sleep aids containing zolpidem, as it impaired patients’ abilities to properly engage in activities requiring alertness. With studies showing such risk with the introduction of sleep aids, it’s important to fully understand the needs of patients before prescribing any medication that may cause them to sleep more than their body is prepared for.

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