Got a lot keeping you up at night? Are you using prescribed aids to put your brain to rest each night? If you're white, female and 50 or older, you're among the majority of the 9 million Americans who have to use prescription sleep aids, according to the first government study of its kind. The Associated Press reported on Aug. 29 that this number is likely even larger when you account for the people who use non-prescribed methods, such as over-the-counter substances or relaxing teas.
The study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2005 to 2010, included interviews with 17,000 adults. From those interviews, it was determined that 4 percent of adults were using a prescription sedative. While that may seem like a relatively small number, one CDC researcher calculated that this rate has risen from previous years. Between the years of 2003-2006, the use of prescription aids was 3.3 percent which rose to 4.3 percent in 2007-2010.
The study reported that women were more likely to take aids than men, with 5 percent of women compared to 3 percent. Also, those who were 80 years old or older represented the largest group to report sleep aid use, with 7 percent of that group responding that they used prescriptions for sleeping. The second largest group was 50-59-year-olds, with 6 percent.
The study’s lead researcher, Yinong Chong, noted that several factors affected the study. CBS reports that Chong noted that women are more likely to go to the doctor for issues and would thus also be more likely to receive prescription drugs. He also noted that the results of the study were affected directly by who would have access to health insurance and thus prescriptions.
Insomnia can lead to and worsen diseases such as diabetes, obesity and depression.