Social support and sleep quality in older benzodiazepine users

Aging Ment Health. 2020 Sep;24(9):1437-1443. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2019.1594167. Epub 2019 Apr 12.


Objective: Benzodiazepines (BZD) are often prescribed to address sleep difficulties but many BZD users report a poor quality of sleep. Although social support was found to be associated with quality of sleep in a recent meta-analysis, this relationship was never studied in older BZD users. This study thus aims to examine how social support is associated with quality of sleep in older BZD users.Method: Seventy-two older adults (age 60-85) using BZD were recruited. Data was collected during the pre-test of the ''PASSE-60+; Support program for a successful withdrawal, NCT02281175'' study. Quality of sleep was measured using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), while social support was evaluated with the Social Support Questionnaire (SSQ-6).Results: When examining the various dimensions of self-reported sleep quality as a whole, we found no significant association with social support, while controlling for daily BZD dose, anxiety and depression. However, we found a significant association between self-reported diurnal dysfunctions (e.g., daytime sleepiness) and satisfaction with social support.Conclusion: Although the results of our study should be replicated with larger samples, they might indicate that social support is not a significant factor influencing sleep quality in older chronic BZD users. Our results could differ from those found in other populations because of the changes in sleep quality associated with long term BZD use. Longitudinal studies should analyse the relationship between diurnal dysfunctions and satisfaction with social support, to examine if social support could help older adults alleviate their diurnal dysfunctions and eventually facilitate BZD tapering.

Keywords: Older adults; benzodiazepines; sleep quality; sleeping pills; social support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Benzodiazepines*
  • Humans
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders* / chemically induced
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Social Support


  • Benzodiazepines

Associated data


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