A Look at the Increased Use of Sleeping Pills

In National Use of Prescription Medications for Insomnia, appearing in Volume 37, Issue 02 of the journal SLEEP, Harvard Medical School reports that approximately 3.5 percent (nearly six million) U.S. adults admitted to the use of sleeping pills within a one-month period of time. The study, conducted for the years 2009 and 2010, showed an increase over a similar study conducted in 1999-2000 which reported only 2 percent of adults.

A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report showed an increase in even these numbers indicating that four percent of people over the age of 20 have used sleep aids within the past month. The CDC report goes on to state that usage seemed to increase with age and education and is more common among women, with five percent of women using prescription sleep aids in the last month compared to only 3.1 percent of men.

ABC’s morning news show, Good Morning America, reported on a government study in 2013 that shows yet another sharp increase in the number of American adults using sleeping pills within the last 30 days. This report has the number at nine million, a three million increase over the 2009-2010 study.

What Seems to be the Problem?

The bottom line is that Americans aren’t getting enough sleep and they are turning to prescription drugs to help reduce their sleep deficits. The ABC interview mentioned that people are often looking for short-term fixes in sleeping pills for what may be long-term problems in the form of underlying illnesses or poor sleeping habits.

If an underlying illness is suspected, it’s best to consult your physician. However, it is possible to change poor sleeping habits in order to get more sleep and better quality sleep. These are a few changes you can make to improve your odds of a good night’s sleep.

⇒ Take a warm bath. Take a 20 to 30-minute soak in a nice warm bath about two hours before bed, recommends a recent Health article. The rapid cool down after your bath will help prepare your body for sleep.

⇒  Create your own bedtime rituals. The Huffington Post suggests bedtime rituals such as meditation, reading quietly, listening to soothing music, or journaling to train your brain that it’s time to sleep.

⇒  Lower the temperature in your bedroom. While numerous studies have been conducted over the years to verify this claim, a recent NY Times post indicates that lowering the external temperature of the body helps lower your core temperature, which in turn may be instrumental in treating cases of chronic insomnia.The best temperature for sleep it appears is between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

⇒ Switch to a natural latex mattress. A natural latex natural mattress offers many benefits to help you get a better night’s sleep. From the open cell technology that draws warmth away and allows cool air to flow through, to the unparalleled support latex is famous for, and all points in between, these mattresses are designed to promote good, healthful sleep.

Sleeping pills might provide a quickie fix, but if you’re looking for long-term remedies they aren’t always the best choice to make. Incorporate the steps above into your routines and see what a difference they make in terms of sleep quantity and quality.

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