New research indicates that the use of sleep medication to try to get a good night’s sleep may be an indicator of a larger problem.
In a Geriatrics & Gerontology International study of 752 older adults with hypertension followed from 2008-2010 through 2012-2013, using sleeping pills on a regular basis was linked with use of an increasing number of blood pressure medications over time.
The association was observed regardless of sleep duration and quality, body mass index, diet, physical activity, and hypertension control.
Although additional research is needed to understand this link, the findings suggest that sleeping pill use may be an indicator of a future need for greater hypertension treatment and the need to investigate underlying sleep disorders or unhealthy lifestyles that may contribute to hypertension.
“Previous reports on associations of sleep characteristics with blood pressure and hypertension were focused on middle-aged adults; however these associations were absent or inconsistent among older adults,” said senior author Dr. José Banegas, of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, in Spain.