Skip 
Navigation Link
Aging & Geriatrics
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Health Tip: Finding Safe Shoes for the ElderlyHealth Tip: 5 Suggestions to Promote Healthy AgingMental Health Issues Impact Retirement Saving BehaviorGood Lifestyle Choices Add Years to Your LifeDance Your Way to a Healthier Aging Brain3MR Intervention Effective for Discontinuing Inappropriate MedsHealth Tip: Tai Chi May Help Prevent FallsToday's Middle-Age Americans in Worse Health Than Prior GenerationsOlder People May Be More Prone to Reveal Suicidal ThoughtsRisk Assessments Can Help Prevent FallsFailing Sense of Smell Tied to Dementia RiskPsychosocial Intervention Ups Adherence to AntidepressantsHealth Tip: Exercise Boosts Brain Metabolism1 in 3 Seniors Take Sleep AidsExercise, Not Vitamin D, Recommended to Prevent FallsUSPSTF Recommends Exercise for Preventing Falls in SeniorsThe Benefits of Simply Moving MoreFew Older Patients Aware of DeprescribingHealth Tip: Stair Safety For Older PeopleFracture Risk Higher for Seniors With DiabetesHealth Tip: Medication Suggestions for Older AdultsU.S. Seniors Getting Healthier, Especially When Wealthy and WhiteShort Duration of Hospice Seen for Seniors at End of LifeHeath Tip: Myths About the Aging BrainRemember This: A Healthy Body Keeps the Mind Sharp, TooIs Dementia Declining Among Older Americans?No Link for Cardiovascular Meds Use, Cognitive ImpairmentToo Much TV May Cost You Your MobilitySmoking Linked to Frailty in SeniorsMore Than Half of Americans Will Need Nursing Home Care: StudyLess Than Half of Seniors With A-Fib Receive AnticoagulantsPatients' Hearing Loss May Mean Poorer Medical CareHow You Think About Your Arthritis Makes a DifferenceDo Fewer Nightly Dreams Mean Higher Dementia Risk in Seniors?Supplement May Help Against Vision-Robbing Disease in SeniorsHealth Tip: Heat and the ElderlyCaregiving Needs Double as End of Life NearsSitting Could Be Big Health Risk for Frail FolksLower Blood Pressure Best for Seniors' MindsPhysical Activity Predicts Disability in Older Adults'On the Move' Group Exercise Program Aids Walking in ElderlyTaking a Stand on Staying Mobile After 80The Right Shoes Can Help Prevent FallsYoga May Boost Aging BrainsHealth Tip: One of Three Adults Gets ShinglesMidlife Behaviors May Affect Your Dementia Risk'Loneliness Epidemic' Called a Major Public Health ThreatProtein at All 3 Meals May Help Preserve Seniors' StrengthInappropriate Med Use High in Cognitively Impaired SeniorsSwitching to Generic Eye Meds Could Save Medicare Millions
Questions and AnswersLinksBook ReviewsSelf-Help Groups
Related Topics

Depression: Depression & Related Conditions
Lifespan Development

1 in 3 Seniors Take Sleep Aids

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Sep 27th 2017

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 27, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- One-third of older Americans take something to help them sleep, but most don't discuss their sleep problems with a doctor, a new survey finds.

"Although sleep problems can happen at any age and for many reasons, they can't be cured by taking a pill, either prescription, over-the-counter or herbal, no matter what the ads on TV say," said poll director Dr. Preeti Malani, a geriatric medicine specialist at the University of Michigan.

The survey included over 1,000 respondents, aged 65 to 80. Half incorrectly believed that sleep problems are just a natural part of aging, according to the National Poll on Health Aging.

Prescription, over-the-counter and so-called natural sleep aids carry health risks, especially for older adults, and national guidelines warn against the use of prescription sleep medicines by people older than 65.

But the survey found that 8 percent of all respondents said they take prescription sleep medicines regularly or occasionally, and that rate was 23 percent among those who said they had sleep troubles three or more nights a week.

"Some of these medications can create big concerns for older adults, from falls and memory issues to confusion and constipation," she explained in a university news release.

Most of those who took prescription sleep medicines had been taking them for years, even though the drugs are only for short-term use, according to manufacturers and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"The first step for anyone having trouble sleeping on a regular basis should be to talk to a doctor about it," Malani said. "Our poll shows that nearly two-thirds of those who did so got helpful advice -- but a large percentage of those with sleep problems simply weren't talking about it."

The survey was conducted by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on older adults and sleep.