Oh Really?!

September 19, 2008

You know I can’t resist howling at unnecessary research – and here’s another one. Bet you would never have guessed it, but older women, who sleep badly at night have a higher risk factor for falls. Apparently sleeping five or fewer hours a night significantly increased the odds of having two or more falls in any one year by 52%. Good old Katie L.Stone, Ph.D., of the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, and her colleagues have realised that people who sleep badly are more likely to be clumsy, fatigued and pay less attention than those who are razor sharp from a full 8 hours of good sleep. Who would have guessed it?

As all the subjects were over 70 and in nursing homes, I would have thought the study might have also highlighted that the main danger to the elderly from falls is through objects left on the floor or badly positioned furniture. However as Dr. Stone is a consultant for Sepracor – a pharmaceutical company who produce the blockbuster insomnia drug Lunesta, with sales of over $1 billion a year, I can see why she might want to promote an uninterrupted night’s sleep. The research was also part funded by them and five other major pharmaceutical companies.


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