Dr. Bill looks at new research on Americans’ use of sleeping pills Show Notes

Wednesday, September 04, 2013 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Are you having trouble sleeping? You’re not alone. 

A story in the LA Times reports that Nearly 9 million U.S. adults resort to prescription sleeping pills. Millions more try options like over-the-counter medicines or chamomile tea, or simply suffer through sleepless nights.

A recent study found that 4 percent of adults said they'd taken a prescription sleeping pill or sedative in the previous month.

Experts say there has been a definite increase in insomnia in recent decades.

That could be due to a number of factors, including obesity-related sleep apnea, and the rise of social media and other electronic late-night distractions. Another factor could be financial stress from the recent recession.

Earlier studies have tried to track pill use through prescription sales, but that offered a flawed view.

For adults, the recommended amount of sleep is 7 to 9 hours each night. Previous research suggests at least a third of adults get less than that.

It’s believed that early 10 percent of Americans suffer chronic insomnia and may seek a physician’s help. Inadequate sleep has been tied to the start and worsening of a range of diseases and conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and depression.

The new study from the CDC found that women are more likely than men to take sleeping pills, 5 percent versus 3 percent. It also found that prescription use increases with age.

As you may have heard, tips for good sleeping include sticking to a regular bedtime schedule, getting exercise each day and avoiding caffeine and nicotine at night.

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.

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