A recent study found those who took sleeping tablets were 36 percent more likely to die at any given time than others. In the study American researchers focused on a brain enzyme called calcium kinase, which controls sleep in humans, said researcher Fiona Macrae, Daily Mail reported.
In an experiment conducted by the researchers, a drug was given to mice that stopped the enzyme to work in the brain and making the animal sleep more.
Encouragingly, the doses used were minimal, a study in the Journal of Neuroscience reported.
"Sleep, one of the most mysterious regular shifts in consciousness, is regulated by a delicate balance between biological processes, the environment and behaviour, but the mechanisms involved in the regulation are not well understood," said Subimal Datta, researcher, Boston University.
"Current treatments for sleep disorders do not achieve the ideal behavioural outcome, and are usually accompanied by many undesirable side effects," he said.
"A more specific, fine-tuned approach to treating these disorders by promoting alertness and treating insomnia would greatly benefit public health," he added.
Lack of sleep is linked to a host of health problems, from heart disease and memory loss to diabetes.