Widely-used blood pressure drugs linked to sleep problems

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Getting enough sleep is vital for our health and happiness. But not everyone finds it easy to get the rest they need.

In the United States, about one in three adults struggles to get enough sleep. That’s why it’s important to know how medications might affect our sleep.

Recently, researchers from the Berlin Institute of Health took a closer look at beta-blockers, a common medication for high blood pressure and heart problems. Beta-blockers work by slowing down the heart, which helps lower blood pressure and reduces the heart’s workload.

People take beta-blockers for various heart conditions, such as heart failure, irregular heartbeats, chest pain, and high blood pressure.

But there have been worries that beta-blockers could cause side effects like depression, anxiety, feeling sleepy, not being able to sleep, seeing or hearing things that aren’t there, and bad dreams.

To find out more, this study looked at information from over 50,000 people in 258 different studies. Most of these studies were about treating high blood pressure.

What they discovered was interesting. It turns out that depression wasn’t any more common in people taking beta-blockers compared to those taking other treatments or a dummy pill (placebo).

This goes against the old idea that beta-blockers are likely to make people feel depressed. Also, the number of people who stopped taking beta-blockers because of depression was about the same as for other treatments.

However, the study did find that people taking beta-blockers reported more problems with their sleep, like having strange dreams, trouble falling asleep, and other sleep issues. Even so, the most common reason people stopped taking beta-blockers was because they felt tired.

These findings mean that beta-blockers are mostly safe when it comes to mental health, but they could affect sleep. This is something doctors and patients should think about, especially if someone is already having trouble sleeping.

The study shows that we shouldn’t worry too much about beta-blockers causing depression when deciding whether to use them. But, it’s still important to talk about any sleep problems that come up during treatment.

Published in the journal Hypertension, this research by Reinhold Kreutz and his team helps us understand more about the side effects of beta-blockers. It’s a step forward in making good decisions about using these medications for heart diseases.

In short, this study reminds us to look at both the physical and mental effects of medications, including how they might impact something as important as sleep.

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