Long Life and Health
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Mental Health

Sleep Meds May Increase Risk of Alzheimer’s

A new study has shown a link between the use of sleep medications and an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia.

Insomnia and poor or disturbed sleep is affecting millions of Americans. This may be why so many of us are turning to sleep medications to help us fall and stay asleep.

Doctors have always suggested that such sleep aids are only used for short periods of time because of the risks and side effects associated with them.

New research suggests another such risk – a possible connection with sleep medications and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study, which was recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, found that Caucasian participants who “often” or “almost always” took sleep medications had a 79% higher chance of developing Alzheimer’s dementia than those who “never” or “rarely” used them.

Interestingly enough, African American study participants were much less likely to take sleep meds and showed no difference in dementia frequency between abstainers and takers.

This is yet another reason that if you are having trouble sleeping, you use healthier methods to improve sleep rather than taking sleep medications.

You can get a more restful sleep by:

  • Getting enough daily exercise.
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Minimize your consumption of alcohol, particularly right before bed.
  • Minimize screen time before bed.
  • Listen to relaxing music or “sleep sounds.”
  • Do not eat a heavy meal before sleeping.
  • Sleep in a very dark, cool room.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages, especially close to bedtime.
  • Have a consistent time to go to bed and to wake up.

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