Here ’s Why You Shouldn’t Take a Sleeping Pill Every Night

Tens of millions of Americans struggle to sleep at night, and many of them turn to sleeping pills for relief. Prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids are especially popular among older adults. A recent study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that roughly one in three adults ages 65 to 80 use these drugs at least occasionally to fall asleep, and OTC meds like Benadryl and Tylenol PM are the pills of choice for sleepless seniors. Experts say this is concerning for a number of reasons. Studies have linked the regular, long-term use of OTC sleep medicines to some potentially serious side effects. “Many OTC sleep aids—such as Benadryl and Tylenol PM—contain diphenhydramine,” says Dr. Donovan Maust, co-author of the recent study and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Michigan Medicine. Diphenhydramine is an anticholinergic drug, which means it blocks activity of a brain chemical called acetylcholine, which plays a role in muscle activation and also in brain functions like alertness, learning and memory, Maust says. As a result of this blocking effect, these OTC drugs can cause constipation, confusion and other side effects, which Maust says may be more likely to affect older adults. For these reasons, the American Geriatric Society has deemed these drugs “generally inappropriate” for seniors. The side effects of these OTC pills can also set off a “prescribing cascade,” says Jennifer Schroeck, a...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized Baby Boomer Health sleep Source Type: news

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Source: Social Science and Medicine - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Source Type: research
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Source: European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology - Category: OBGYN Source Type: research
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Source: European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology - Category: OBGYN Source Type: research
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