Objective To assess whether cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is associated with first purchase of a prescribed hypnotic drug in the adult population.
Methods A total of 34,357 adult participants (53.9% women) with a mean age of 51.5 years (SD 15.6 years) from the third Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT) of 2006 to 2008 were observed until January 1, 2018. Cardiorespiratory fitness was estimated from a validated nonexercise algorithm. Data on first hypnotics prescription were obtained through linkage to the National Norwegian Prescription Database. Cox regression with 95% CIs was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs).
Results After 304,899 person-years of follow-up, 5791 participants had their first registered purchase of prescribed hypnotics, corresponding to an incidence rate of 1.90 per 100 person-years. Each 1–metabolic equivalent of task increase in CRF was significantly associated with 5% (HR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.91 to 0.99; P=.02) and 4% (HR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.92 to 1.00; P=.046) risk reduction for incident use of hypnotics in men and women, respectively. When CRF was categorized into tertiles with lowest CRF as the reference group, reduced risk was 13% (HR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.79 to 0.96; P=.006) and 15% (HR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.77 to 0.95; P=.003) for men in the intermediate and highest CRF category, respectively. In women with highest CRF, the reduced risk was 5% (HR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.87 to 1.03; P=.22).
Conclusion Cardiorespiratory fitness in adulthood is associated with incident purchase of prescription medication commonly used for sleep problems. These findings suggest that fitness should be considered a target for preventing sleep problems in adults.
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