Study: Older women who sleep less have higher falls risk

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Elderly women who get five hours of sleep or less per night have inflated risks of suffering falls, according to a new study. Sleep medications such as benzodiazepines had little affect on the connection, researchers added.

Investigators analyzed sleeping times, efficiency and frequency of falls in nearly 3,000 women 70 or older. Study subjects' average sleeping time was 6.8 hours per night.

Women with a sleep efficiency rating of less than 70% were nearly 1.4 times as likely to suffer a fall than women with an efficiency rating above 70%. In addition, individuals with two hours or more of "wake time" after going to sleep were about 1.3 times more likely to fall than those with less time awake.

Researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco conducted the study. Results appear in this week's edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine.