We just posted two great articles written by Dr. David Jernigan on holistic ways to deal with insomnia. Since two-thirds of Americans state that they don’t get a restful night’s sleep (only 10% say they get restful sleep every night!), dealing with the causes and solutions of insomnia is obviously more than just getting a new and healthier mattress.

Unfortunately, most people with insomnia are treated by their medical doctor with a certain class of commonly prescribed sleeping pills call benzodiazepines. Researchers at the University of Nottingham in England have discovered that patients taking this medication are at an increased risk of contracting and dying of pneumonia.

Scientists studied about 500 patients who had already been diagnosed with pneumonia. Patients taking this class of sleeping pills had a 54% increased risk of pneumonia. Those who did contract pneumonia while taking benzodiazepines were 20% more likely to die within a month and 33% more likely to die within three years.

Current users of these drugs were 90% more likely to contract pneumonia. In addition, past users that were no longer taking these sleeping pills were 40% more likely to contract pneumonia.

This study was recently published in Thorax, an international journal of respiratory medicine.