Having trouble catching zzz’s? Many Americans have trouble falling, and staying asleep. Often, those exhausted will employ the use of a sleeping pill to aid in getting good quality sleep. Unfortunately, new research has linked frequent use of sleeping aid pills to a higher risk of dementia compared to non-use of sleeping pills.
A study out of the University of California San Francisco followed 3,608 healthy-brain individuals living in the community between the ages of 70 and 70 years old. All participants reported some level of use of sleep aid between the years of 1997 and 1998. The study followed these participants until the year 2013. The use of sleeping aids was measured with the units “sometimes”, “often” and “almost always”. Research determined that individuals who reported taking sleeping pills “often” or “almost always” were over 40% more likely to develop dementia compared to individuals who reported “never” or “rarely used” them.
Sleep is an important factor of any dementia-related research. While this study showed a correlation between high use of sleeping pills and increased risk for dementia, research leaders specified that it did not show causality. This study sheds more light on how to include sleep in future sleep and dementia investigations.