One in eight adults with sleep problems use sleep aids
In a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention In the past two decades, both popular media and pharmaceutical companies have reported an increased number of prescriptions filled for sleep aids in the United States.
According to the report 4% of American adults aged 20 years and older had taken prescription sleep aids within the last 30 days. Regular usage was lowest among the youngest group of adults (20 to 39 years) at around 2% and increased as adults aged with 6% among those 50 to 59 years and reached 7% of those 80 years and over.
To date studies on sleep aid use are mainly based on data that lists the number of times sleep aid prescriptions are filled rather than the number of people that had actually used them. This is the first study based on actual sleep aid usage.
Prescription sleep aid usage varied by sex, race and ethnicity within the last 30 days revealing sleep aid use was higher in women 5.0% in comparison to men 3.1%. Non-Hispanic white adults had higher use of sleep aids at 4.7% compared to non-Hispanic black at 2.5% and Mexican-American at 2.0%.
Adults with a higher education had used more sleep aids within the last 30 days than those adults with a higher education; adults with less than a high school diploma 3%, with a high school diploma 3.9% and 4.4% of adults with education past high school.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven hours of sleep a night is the minimum adults need on a regular basis to be at their best therefore the report used seven hours for a reference point. Adults who had fewer than five hours a sleep a night had the highest use of sleep aids 3.0 % in the last 30 days.
Among adults who had a physician’s diagnosis of a sleep disorder had reported using sleeping pills within the last 30 days which was five times higher than adults with a sleep disorder diagnosis. Around 13% of adults who had reported to their physician they had trouble sleeping used sleep aids which was 12 times higher than those who did not report sleep problems.
Among the hypnotic drugs reported by adults in the last 30 days had included butabarbital, flurazepam brand name Dalmane and triazolam. Adults using any antidepressant drugs with sedative function used within the past 30 days that were included as a sleep aid were amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep), doxepin (Sinequan), mirtazapine (Remeron, Avanza, Zispin) and trazodone (Desyrel, Oleptro, Beneficat, Deprax). Even though these drugs are not approved by the FDA as primary medications for insomnia, they are frequently prescribed by physicians for treating patients with both depression and sleep disorders due to their sedative effects.
More information on sleep and sleep disorders can be found online at the National Sleep Foundation.