Older adults with hypertension followed from 2008-2010 through 2012-2013, using sleeping pills on a regular basis was linked with use of an increasing number of blood pressure medications over time, a study has found.
The association was observed regardless of sleep duration and quality, body mass index, diet, physical activity, and hypertension control.
Although additional research is needed to understand this link, the findings suggest that sleeping pill use may be an indicator of a future need for greater hypertension treatment and the need to investigate underlying sleep disorders or unhealthy lifestyles that may contribute to hypertension.
“Previous reports on associations of sleep characteristics with blood pressure and hypertension were focused on middle-aged adults; however, these associations were absent or inconsistent among older adults,” said senior author Dr José Banegas, of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, in Spain.
Aim: The relationship between sleeping characteristics and antihypertensive medication is little known. We examined the association of sleep quality or duration and the use of sleeping pills with the number of antihypertensive drugs used in older adults.
Methods: This was a prospective cohort study of treated hypertensive patients aged ≥60 years participating in a seniors cohort, followed from 2008 to 2010 through 2012 to 2013. Self‐reported sleep duration, sleep quality (usually having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep) and sleeping pills use were ascertained at baseline, and the change in the number of antihypertensive drugs (active agents) between 2008–2010 and 2012–2013 was calculated. Analyses were carried out with logistic regression, and adjusted for demographics, lifestyle, comorbidity, baseline number of antihypertensive drugs and hypertension control.
Results: Among the 752 participants at baseline (mean age 69.9 years, 49.2% men), the mean sleep duration was 6.9 h/day, 37% had poor sleep quality, 16.5% usually consumed sleeping pills and the mean number of antihypertensive drugs was 1.8. During the follow‐up period, 156 (20.7%) patients increased the number of antihypertensive drugs. No association was found between sleep duration or quality and the change in antihypertensive drug use. Usual sleeping pills consumption was associated with a higher risk of increasing (vs decreasing/maintaining) the number of antihypertensive drugs (odds ratio 1.85; 95% confidence interval 1.12–3.07, P‐value 0.02).
Conclusions: Consumption of sleeping pills was prospectively linked to an increased number of antihypertensive drugs. “Sleeping pill use” might be an indicator of future needs of antihypertensive treatment, and a warning indicator to investigate underlying sleep disorders or unhealthy lifestyles.
Ana Hernández‐Aceituno, Pilar Guallar‐Castillón, Esther García‐Esquinas, Fernando Rodríguez‐Artalejo, José R Banegas