Does the use of sleeping pills increase the risk of death? – WWN

Does the use of sleeping pills increase the risk of death? – WWN

Of Luigi Ferini Strambi

Reduced sleep time is implicated in increasing cardiovascular risk, but can also affect obesity and diabetes. The hypnotic drug must be chosen by the doctor in a thoughtful manner

I read that, according to a study, those who use sleeping pills have an increased risk of death compared to those who don’t take them: right?

He replies Luigi Ferini Strambi, full professor of Neurology at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University and director of the Sleep Medicine Center, IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital, Milan (GO TO THE FORUM)

I think you’re referring to a recent study conducted in Asia on 484 thousand subjects. This study shows several critical points. The main one relating to the total time of sleep, than that perceived by the subjects and not that detected with specific tests. Other weaknesses of the study are failure to consider the type and dose of hypnotic drug usedas well as the duration of treatment. So, how to answer your question? We certainly know that insomniabased not only on subjective data but also on the demonstration of reduced nocturnal sleep time, determines an increased risk of mortality. A reduced sleep time is implicated in the increase in cardiovascular risk: in fact, after falling asleep the heart rate and blood pressure begin to decrease, because the release of cortisol is inhibited. In insomniacs, cortisol levels remain high and therefore the dipping phenomenon is not observed (i.e. the physiological reduction in blood pressure values)


Obesity and diabetes

There are also other factors that can come into play in the link between sleep reduction and vascular pathologies: obesity And diabetes. By sleeping less you tend to eat more reduced sleep leads to the search for unhealthy food, high in calories. Researchers from King’s College London, a few years ago, highlighted that, after a night with less than six hours of sleep, you ingest 385 more kilocalories. Longitudinal studies in the general population have highlighted that sleeping less than 6 hours per night increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus by approximately 50%. compared to those who sleep at least 7 hours. Finally, insomniacs have an alteration of the immune response, with a decrease in the secretion of interferon-gamma, a reduced activity of natural killer cells and reduced levels of interleukin 2.

The directions to follow

Returning to the initial question, there are some considerations to make:
1) Insomnia in itself increases the risk of mortality;
2) important verify that the hypnotic drug really solves the sleep disorder;
3) the hypnotic drug must be chosen by the doctor in a thoughtful manner (evaluating the half-life of the drug and the duration of treatment);
4) in case of non-response to several hypnotic drugs, the opportunity of an instrumental assessment must be considered;
5) cognitive-behavioral therapy However, it is considered the first choice treatment for insomnia.

November 2, 2023 (modified November 2, 2023 | 08:48)

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