Although taking sleeping pills for insomnia may put you at an increased risk of premature death, simply suffering from insomnia may not necessarily be an indicator that your life is more likely to be cut short.
This appears to contradict a couple of 2010 studies that linked insomnia with early death.
The latest, more positive, study found that when insomnia and risk of death alone were analyzed, there was indeed a link between the condition and premature death.
However, when researchers looked at the number of hours slept and whether individuals took sleeping pills, the increased risk for premature death due to insomnia alone disappeared.
Even more surprisingly, insomnia appeared to reduce the risk of death in older adults.
Researchers discovered that those who had been diagnosed with insomnia for the past 6 months or longer were 36% less likely to die compared to those without insomnia.
It's thought that the real culprit behind the apparent increased risk of death due to insomnia is hypnotic medication - in other words, sleeping pills.
Ironically, researchers also discovered that too much sleep (9 hours or so) led to an increased risk of premature death.
So if you're an insomniac who isn't on the sleeping pills, perhaps your insomnia will actually extend your lifespan rather than cut it short.
Last updated: October 29, 2013