Study: Sleep helps older women prevent falls

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Women aged 70 or older who receive less than five hours of sleep per night are at a greater risk of falls, according to a recent study.

Of nearly 3,000 elderly women surveyed, those who slept five hours of sleep per night or less were roughly 47% more likely to experience two or more falls during a 12-month follow-up period than those who slept seven to eight hours per night. Those who took sleep aids such as benzodiazepines were at a slightly increased risk of fall, as well. On average, medicated sleepers are 1.34 times more likely to fall.

Researchers say that studies involving different variables, including sleep characteristics-such as breathing difficulty, or sleep apnea-or different medications could help illuminate the subject further. Their results were published in the September 8 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.