Sleeping pills might actually be worse for you than not sleeping. A recent study published in the online journal BMJ Open suggests that even moderate consumption of sleeping pills can increase mortality 3-4 times. The study compared a group of 10,500 sleeping-pill-poppers with 23,500 un-medicated counterparts of similar backgrounds and lifestyle habits. Subjects taking 18 doses of sleeping pills per year were 3.5 times as likely to die than subjects who counted sheep, drank warm milk or lay restless and miserable until morning. And the likelihood of dying increases with the dosage: Those who were taking 132+ doses per year increased their mortality more than 5 times. The study also concluded that subjects taking high dosages of sleeping pills were 35% more likely to get cancer. This is bad news because an increasing amount of Americans use some kind of sleeping pill, almost one in 10 adults in 2010.
“Although the authors have not been able to prove that sleeping pills cause premature death, their analyses have ruled out a wide range of other possible causative factors,” Dr. Trish Groves, editor in chief of BMJ Open, said of the study. “So these findings raise important concerns and questions about the safety of sedatives and sleeping pills.”
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