Is usage of hypnotics associated with mortality?

Sleep Med. 2009 Mar;10(3):279-86. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2008.12.004. Epub 2009 Mar 9.


Objective: To investigate the influence of hypnotic usage on all-cause and cause-specific mortality in a middle-aged population.

Methods: A cohort of 1750 men and 1773 women aged 30-65 years who responded to a postal questionnaire in 1983. The questionnaire included questions about hypnotic usage, sleep duration, sleep complaints, medical conditions, depression, demographic and life style variables. Mortality data for the period 1983-2003 were collected.

Results: Regular hypnotic usage was reported by 1.7% of men and 2.2% of women, and was associated with short sleep, sleeping difficulties, several health problems and depression. During the 20-year follow-up period 379 men (21.5%) and 278 women (15.5%) died. After adjustment for potential risk factors in multivariate analyses regular hypnotic usage was associated with significantly increased risk of all-cause mortality in men (Hazard ratios [HR], 4.54; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.47-8.37) and in women 2.03 (95% CI, 1.07-3.86). With regard to cause-specific mortality, regular hypnotic usage in men was a risk factor for coronary artery disease death, cancer death, suicide and death from "all remaining causes." In women it was a risk factor for suicide.

Conclusions: Our results show an increased risk of all-cause mortality and cause-specific mortality in regular users of hypnotics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cause of Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Depression / mortality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / mortality*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survival Analysis
  • Sweden / epidemiology


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives