My opinion: While I would like to address the causes of such restless nights, I feel as if many of them cannot easily be changed. For example, it is very difficult for people to lose weight (the obese often have trouble sleeping), and it may be impossible to relax after a tragic event occurs. Unfortunately, sleeping pills are very addicted and may not always be the best option for relief. There might be some other ways to improve sleeping, however, and I'd like to focus on the demographic majorities in the study to determine what these methods are. Most of the people using prescription sleeping pills are women, white, educated and over 50. How come women of other races don't get these pills as much? Perhaps they are participating in different activities then the white women, some of which are more exhausting. Also, if 50 year-olds are experiencing these problems, perhaps menopause is preventing women from sleeping. Should their medication be added/changed to account for this? And what does being educated have to do with it? Are the educated more likely to ask for prescriptions? Feel free to comment.
9 Million Use Sleeping Pills to Get More Zzz's
Can't get enough shuteye? Nearly 9 million U.S. adults resort to prescription sleeping pills — and most are white, female, educated or 50 or older, according to the first government study of its kind.
But that's only part of the picture. Experts believe there are millions more who try options like over-the-counter medicines or chamomile tea, or simply suffer through sleepless nights.
"Not everyone is running out to get a prescription drug," said Russell Rosenberg, an Atlanta-based sleep researcher.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study was based on interviews with about 17,000 adults from 2005 through 2010. Study participants were even asked to bring in any medicines they were taking.
Overall, 4 percent of adults said they'd taken a prescription sleeping pill or sedative in the previous month.
The study did not say whether use is increasing. But a CDC researcher calculated that use rose from 3.3 percent in 2003-2006 to 4.3 percent in 2007-2010.
That echoes U.S. market research — as well as studies in some other countries — that indicate an increase in insomnia in recent decades.
"Sleep disorders overall are more prevalent than what they were," said Dr. Ana Krieger, medical director of New York's Weill Cornell Center for Sleep Medicine.
That could be due to a number of factors, experts said. Some include obesity-related sleep apnea, the rise of social media and other electronic late-night distractions and financial worries from the recent recession.