Did You Know Sleeping pill sales increased by 23% from 2006-2010 and generated about $2 billion in annual sales. Sleeping pills (including Ambien and Restoril) are linked to a 4.6 times higher risk of death and a significant increase in cancer. Among patients who were prescribed just 1-18 sleeping pills per year, the risk of death was 3.6 times higher. Rates of new cancers were 35% higher among patients who were prescribed at least 132 doses a year, compared with those who did not receive prescriptions.
The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry recently published that older adults with poor sleep habits have an altered immune system response to stress that may increase their risk for mental and physical health problems. Stress leads to significantly larger increases in a marker of inflammation in poor sleepers compared to good sleepers; a marker associated with poor health outcomes and death.