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Dying for Sleep: Risky Sedative Still Widely Used By Older Adults

By Sixty and Me March 05, 2018 Health and Fitness

When you are having trouble sleeping, everything else in your life suffers. You may feel cranky and irritable. You may have trouble focusing on your work. You may even feel like locking yourself up in your house, avoiding social contact all together.

So, perhaps it’s no surprise that so many of us turn to sedatives when we are having trouble sleeping. After all, things really couldn’t get any worse… right?

Well, like so many things in life, it’s not so much the effectiveness of sleep medications that is in question. Instead, we need to ask ourselves whether the costs outweigh the benefits. And, in my opinion, when it comes to certain sedatives, if we understood the side-effects, many of us would look for more natural sleep-enhancing options before turning to medication.

I want to share a few of these risks with you today… specifically related to benzodiazepine.

At the same time, I want to make it clear that none of the information in this article should be considered medical advice. Your body and your medical history are unique. So, only your doctor can tell you what makes sense in your situation.

New Study Sheds Light on Risks of Benzodiazepine

Benzodiazepine is a popular sedative. According to AARP, which reported on the study, benzodiazepines are popular, not only because they help patients to sleep, but, also because they may help patients to feel calmer and less anxious.

The problem, according to the same study, is that benzodiazepine use has been linked to a doubled risk of falls and car accidents among adults over the age of 65. And, since such accidents are among the most common reasons for losing our independence, the negative side-effects of using benzodiazepine could be more significant than those that are listed on the label.

The authors of the study concluded that, while the rate at which benzodiazepine is prescribed has fallen in countries like the U.S., its use still remains widespread, especially considering the potential side-effects.

A Time and a Place for Everything

Now, to be clear, I’m not saying that benzodiazepine should never be used. I’m sure that there are medically appropriate times for it to be prescribed. As I said before, this is really up to you and your doctor to decide.

However, like chronic pain, I have to believe that many of us could benefit from lifestyle changes instead of medication. The only advice that I have is to have a comprehensive discussion with your doctor about your sleep. Before you do, be sure to read our articles on improving your sleep. I hope that they give you plenty to discuss!

9 Sneaky Tricks for Better Sleep After 60

Trouble Sleeping After 60? It May Be Too Hot (or Cold) in the Bedroom

4 Questions to Ask Your Doctor if You Want Better Sleep After 60

I hope that you find the resources listed in this article useful. I hope that they allow you to get the restful sleep that you deserve!

Do you ever have trouble sleeping? What have you found helps you to sleep – other than alcohol or drugs? Let’s help each other to find some ideas!

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The Author

Sixty and Me is a community of over 500,000 women over 60 founded by Margaret Manning. Our editorial team publishes articles on lifestyle topics including fashion, dating, retirement and money.

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