Millions of Americans rely on prescription medication to help them sleep, the results of a recent government survey shows. According to a report published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4 percent of Americans 20 years of age and older rely on prescription meds to help them sleep.
The alarming results were published by the CDC and are based on National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data. The data comes from standardized physical exams and home interviews where participants were asked if the used prescription medication during the past 30 days. When interviewees responded "yes', survey takers took a peek at all of the medicine containers the people had; the interviewers then recorded the name of each drug and converted them to standard generic names.
Survey results show that prescription drug sleep aids increased with age; only 2 percent of people age 20 -29 years used prescription drugs, compared to 6 percent for people 50 - 59 years of age, and 7 percent for people aged 80 years and older.
The results also show that 4.7 percent of non Hispanic whites relied on prescription sleep aids compared to 2.5 percent for non Hispanic blacks and 2 percent of Mexican Americans.
Interestingly enough, sleep aid use increased with education (4.4 percent compared to 3.9 percent for adults with only a high school diploma). The survey also revealed that women tend to have more difficulty getting to sleep than men 5 percent compared to 3.1 percent.
Scientists also learned that sleep aid use increased with sleep duration i.e. people who tended to spend the least and the greatest amount of time sleeping reported the greatest use of sleep aids.
For example, when using 7 hours as the minimum amount of sleep that a person needs to perform at their best, the results show that people who had 5 or fewer hours of sleep per day relied the heaviest on sleep aids during the past thirty days (6 percent); those with 8 or 9 hours of sleep per day also relied on sleep medication (4.1 percent and 5.3 percent respectively).
It appears that people are having more trouble getting to sleep than in the past. People with sleep disorders also relied on sleep aids, with 16 percent of people with sleep disorders reportedly relying on prescription drugs to get to sleep.
This shouldn't come entirely as a suprise considering we're living in a fast paced society. Moreover, transitioning from daylight savings time to standard time can throw off the sleep cycle.
While prescription sleep aids may provide some short term benefits, prolonged use can be harmful to the body.
There are natural remedies that might be effective in encouraging sleep such as reducing physical activity at least one hour before bed time, cutting caffeine and other brain stimulants before bed time, and practicing meditation.
Considering that 50 -70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, finding ways to safely get a good night's sleep is certainly worth investigating.
But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear ; do not be frightened." 1 Peter 3:14
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"Americans Rely On Pills To Help Them Sleep" copyright © 2013 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.