September 24, 2018
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Living here in Denver, we see a bit more central sleep apnea and other disorders related to our thin air. More can be said for people who go to the mountains. Many get "altitude sickness", but most have difficulty sleeping until they are acclimated. That can commonly be said for mountain climbers. Because sleep is altered at high altitude, many mountain climbers to use hypnotics to improve sleep efficiency. 
But what does that do to alter their cognitive function? They constantly do early waking-up rituals on little sleep which could have residual adverse effects.
A study was recently done to see if zolpidem intake at high altitude would alter cognitive function 4 hours after drug intake.
It turns out that even though it did have an effect on sleep apnea, acute zolpidem intake at high altitude alters cognitive functions and postural control during early wakening which may be deleterious for safety and performances of climbers.