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Sleeping pills are on the rise according to CDC study

USA Today reports that an estimated 9 million adults in the United States have resorted to taking sleeping pills to get enough sleep at night, this according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In the study, the CDC questioned 17,000 adults from 2005 through 2010. Overall, 4% of adults said they'd taken prescription sleeping pills or sedatives in the previous month. What’s more surprising is that most of the individuals who confessed to resorting to taking sleep medications were “white, female, educated or 50 or older.”

The study, however, does not consider the millions of others who may not resort to sleeping pills but may take less drastic measure to get some shut eye. For instance, many individuals may take nonprescription medications or simply suffer through sleepless nights.

What is not clear from the study, however, is whether there has been a substantial increase from past years. The CDC does, however, believe there has been an increase from approximately 3.3% in 2003-2006 to 4.3% in 2007-2010. According to Dr. Ana Krieger, medical director of New York's Weill Cornell Center for Sleep Medicine, "Sleep disorders overall are more prevalent than what they were.”

What is causing the increase in insomnia?

So what’s causing the increase in insomnia? Experts suspect some of the factors could include the rise of social media, increased financial difficulties, and obesity related disorders such as sleep apnea.

How do you know if you have a sleeping disorder? Experts recommend getting at least seven to nine hours per night, a number that up to a third of adults do not come close to. What do you do if you have difficulty sleeping? There are several general tips offered by doctors: make sure to go to bed at the same time every night, turn off electronics, avoid caffeinated beverages and make sure you exercise each day.

Other adults, an estimated 10%, may need to seek medical help. Consider, there are many diseases which interrupt sleep. If you have chronic insomnia it is important to rule out other conditions such as obesity, depression and diabetes.

What else did the study confirm?

According to the CDC study, there are several other patterns that doctors have noticed. Most notably, women were more likely to depend on sleeping pills then men and white women were the most likely individuals to take them. Researchers also noted that older people were more likely to take sleeping pills than those who are younger.

Older individuals, just like those who are younger, must rule out any type of other condition that could be influencing their sleeping patterns. Talk to a doctor. According to researchers, we know that people tend to have trouble sleeping as they get older, but the reason can be varied and may not just include physical changes.

Consider also, severe health issues or sleep disorders may make it difficult to work a full-time job. If you have a severe health condition and  you cannot work you may qualify for disability benefits.
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