Sleeping pills can increase risk of dying

Experts warn sleeping pills could be be fatal, so what else can help you get a good nights' sleep?

Taking a sleeping pill to help you nod off doesn’t seem that dangerous, but new research warns the drugs can increase the risk of dying.

A recent study published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry found those who take sleeping pills are up to 36% more likely to die from any cause.

Researchers discovered that the pills, and other drugs designed to beat anxiety, can affect reaction time, co-ordination and grogginess, which raises the risk of falls.

The tablets may also affect the respiratory system, which can make breathing problems worse during sleep, particularly for those with heart problems. There are also fears that sleeping pills may affect judgement and mood, raising the risk of suicide.

It sounds scary but British experts have questioned how accurate the study actually is.

First, the study does not distinguish between those who rely on sleeping pills every night and occasional users. Professor Jim Horne, of Loughborough University, also worries that any underlying health problems – such as heart disease or mental health issues – will have skewed the results of the study.

If you’re worried about taking sleeping pills, talk to your GP or see The Sleep Council’s Top 10 Tips for getting a good night’s sleep below:

1. Go to bed and get up at roughly the same time every day to help programme your body.
2. Create a restful environment – not too hot, too cold or too noisy.
3. Make sure your bed is comfortable.
4. Take regular exercise to blast away any stress.
5. Avoid tea and coffee, particularly before bed, as the stimulants can keep you awake.
6. Try not too eat or drink too much before bed as this can interrupt your sleep patterns.
7. Don’t smoke – smokers take longer to fall asleep.
8. Try to relax before bed. A warm bath or yoga is ideal.
9. If you worry a lot, write a list to tackle tomorrow.
10. Don’t stay in bed if you can’t sleep. Get up and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy.

Do you suffer from insomnia? Are sleeping pills the only thing that works for you? Have you got any good tips for nodding off? Share your thoughts below!

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