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Your chances of dying go up by 40 per cent when you take a sleeping pill

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Sleeping pills increase the risk of an early death by nearly 40 per cent, alarming new research has revealed this week. Researchers believe the drugs affect our reactions – contributing to falls and accidents – as well as our breathing patterns, which could be disturbed while we sleep. Anxiety drugs can also affect mortality to a similar extent. Researchers established the link after they analysed 12 years of data involving 14,000 patients. Overall, they found that insomnia and anxiety drugs increased the death rate by 36 per cent. “These medications aren’t candy, and taking them is far from harmless,” said lead researcher Dr Genevieve Belleville. (Source: Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 2010; 55: 558-67)

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