Why Do Seniors Need Sleeping Pills?

Although it may be true your odds of becoming an insomniac increase as you age, one has little to do with the other. Nevertheless, patients -- both young and old -- still reach for useless sedative hypnotic drugs like Ambien.

Not surprisingly, according to a review of 24 studies (free text link below), the risks of taking these drugs outweigh the benefits.

Researchers gave some 2,400 patients (older than age 59) a pill or placebo to treat their sleep problem. Patients who took an active drug may have modestly improved their quality sleep and expanded their sleep time, but also increased their chances of daytime fatigue, impaired cognitive skills and falls (the leading cause of death among seniors over age 65).

A good deal of the problem rests with seniors taking useless prescription drugs (more than 12 percent of them use eight or more). You can wean yourself from them -- under the supervision of a trained health care professional -- and by making the lifestyle changes outlined in my Total Health Program.

British Medical Journal November 11, 2005 Free Full Text PDF

Yahoo News November 11, 2005

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