Yesterday, I told you how lack of sleep can set you up for major health issues including weight gain, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
Now, here’s the flip side of the story, and it’s just as bad — maybe even worse.
A new survey done by the National Poll on Healthy Aging from the University of Michigan has found that a third of seniors take sleeping pills to help them get that needed rest.
Despite how important getting enough shuteye is, these drugs are so incredibly dangerous, especially where seniors are concerned, that taking them ups your possibility of suffering a fall, hip fracture, car accident, memory problems, and fatigue — the list goes on and on.
And if you’ve been taking them for a while and try to stop, you’ll soon find you’re up against some of the most potent, addictive meds that Big Pharm has ever unleashed.
But being able to boot these drugs out of your life might just be one of the most important things you can do.
Sleeping under the influence
While lack of sleep can shorten your life, so can the drugs recommended to help you to get more shut-eye!
This new study from the University of Michigan is telling us that far too many seniors rely on these meds.
And I know that lying awake night after night counting sheep can make you ready to give anything a try.
But once you learn about what these drugs can do, you’ll see that it’s just not worth the risk. And it’s not just you that’s being put in jeopardy, but others around you as well.
Sleeping aids, also called “hypnotics,” include some well-known names such as Lunesta, Ambien, and Intermezzo (all of which are now available as cheaper generics). And if you have trouble swallowing a pill, the FDA has made it even easier for you to take zolpidem tatarate (a.k.a. Intermezzo), by just last year approving a generic sublingual one you simply pop under your tongue.
That’s despite long-standing evidence, the latest coming from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, finding that taking zolpidem can increase your risk of getting into a car accident the next day by up to 50 percent!
And if you’re a woman, that risk soars to 65 percent. Over 80? Taking this drug the night before driving will give you a whopping 124 percent higher risk of crashing.
But even if you don’t plan on driving, you probably shouldn’t plan on walking, either.
Research has found that seniors who take sleeping pills are twice as likely to fall and suffer a hip fracture. And that risk extends to the day after taking them!
On top of those frightening findings, several years ago a big study out of the UK discovered that taking these hypnotics can make you three times more likely to die prematurely, and that’s no matter how old — or young — you are.
It seems, however, that regardless of how dangerous these pills are found to be, the mainstream will continue to push them.
Just a few months ago at the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry conference, it was announced that the drug Belsomra may be a “good tool” for seniors to use in treating insomnia.
Even the FDA was very concerned about the next-day side effects of this drug, especially something called “psychomotor impairment.” Basically, that means you might not be fit to do much of anything.
If you’ve been taking one of these drugs (and there are many more than those I listed), especially for a long period of time, you don’t want to stop cold turkey.
You need to wean yourself off of them over several weeks to months, something that may need to be done under a doctor’s supervision.
And as you do, incorporate some non-drug ways to get your shut-eye, such as having a regular bedtime, not having caffeinated drinks late in the afternoon, and not taking one of those electronic gadgets to bed with you!
“1 in 3 seniors take sleep aids” Robert Preidt, September 27, 2017, HealthDay, consumer.healthday.com