Potential Side Effects of Sleeping Pills

By , Category : General Health

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Do you use sleeping pills?Most of us have experienced trouble sleeping at one time or another. I know I definitely have. It is completely normal and usually short-lived, being caused by stress or other outside factors. But what about those whose sleep problems are a regular occurrence that interferes with their daily lives?

Well, according to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for nearly 9 million American adults, it is not only all too common, but they’re resorting to prescription sleeping pills to get some shut eye.

Overall, between 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from some sort of sleep disorders or deprivation, according to the Institute of Medicine. We already know that adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep each night, but sadly, for more than a third of adults, that’s just not the case.

The CDC study was based on interviews with about 17,000 adults from 2005 through 2010. Those that took part in the study were also encouraged to bring in any medication they were taking.

Overall, about four percent of adults said they’d taken a prescription sleeping pill or sedative in the previous month.

The CDC study results confirmed some trends doctors have been noticing for a while. Some of the more interesting points were:

  • Use is more prevalent amongst Caucasians, nearly 5% compared to 2.5% of African Americans and 2% of Hispanics.
  • Women are more likely than men to rely on sleeping pills, 5% compared to 3%.
  • Use increases with age, with the highest number being 7% for those over 80

In 2012, roughly 59 million sleeping pills were prescribed in the U.S., according to IMS Health, which tracks drug data.

While the pills can provide solutions to sleep problems, there are risks. The drugs are approved only for short-term use, even though many rely on these medications for years. A 2012 study published in the British Medical Journal showed that people who relied heavily on prescription sleeping pills were between three to five times as likely to die over the course of the study when compared to those who didn’t.

Here are a few tips to help you get a good night’s sleep…

  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine
  • Stay away from big meals and caffeine at night
  • Quit smoking
  • Try not to bring stress, worry, or anger from your day to bed with you

If you’ve tried the tips above and are still struggling to get a good night’s sleep, you may have a sleep disorder and should consider scheduling a visit with a sleep doctor.

Source(s) for Today’s Article:
Harris, N., “CDC Sleeping Pill Report: Why Are Older, Educated Americans More Likely To Use Aids To Get Some Shut-Eye?” Medical Daily web site, August 29, 2013; http://www.medicaldaily.com/cdc-sleeping-pill-report-why-are-older-educated-americans-more-likely-use-aids-get-some-shut-eye

Breus, M., “CDC Report: 9 Million Using Prescription Sleep Aids,” The Huffington Post web site. August 29, 2013; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-michael-j-breus/cdc-sleep-report_b_3837199.html
Ramsey, S., “Prescription sleeping pills may raise the risk of an early death,” BMJ; http://besthealth.bmj.com/x/news/668024/news-item.html
“How to Sleep Better” Help Guide web site; http://www.helpguide.org/life/sleep_tips.htm

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