Background Sleep disturbances are frequently reported in the older adult population and benzodiazepines are the drugs most often prescribed to treat these problems. Nearly 25% of the older adult population uses these drugs and 83% of benzodiazepine users report sleep problems. Although the Collège des Médecins du Québec suggests a maximum length of use of 3 months, according to most studies the mean length of benzodiazepine use is longer. The goal of this study was to document the association between length of benzodiazepine use and sleep quality as reported by adults 65 years older and over. Methods Data used in this study came from the Seniors' Health Survey (ESA) conducted in a representative sample of the community-dwelling older population in Quebec, Canada. Inclusion criteria included the ability to speak and understand French. Data were analyzed using a structural equation modeling strategy. Results Long-term benzodiazepine users were more likely to report poor sleep quality. Sleep quality of initial probable problematic sleepers tended to increase over 1 year but sleep quality in benzodiazepines users increased less rapidly than in non-users. Also, women were more likely to report using benzodiazepines and having poorer sleep quality. Conclusion Longitudinal studies using incident cases of benzodiazepine use should be conducted to better determine the causal relationship between sleep quality and benzodiazepine use in the older population.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geriatrics and Gerontology
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index