(NaturalNews) An increasing number of Americans are having trouble falling asleep at night and staying that way, says a new government report on sleeping pill use. According to data compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly nine million Americans now pop pharmaceutical sleeping drugs like Ambien (zolpidem) and Lunesta (eszopiclone) on a regular basis just to get some normal shut-eye, a disturbing trend that appears to be ever-escalating.
For their study, Yinong Chong, an epidemiologist at the CDC, and her colleagues looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on 17,000 individuals aged 20 years or older. The survey evaluated patterns of sleeping pill use among participants between the years of 2005 and 2010 and included various demographic distinctions such as race, sex and education level.
It was discovered that about four percent of U.S. adults aged 20 or older, which tabulates out to about 8.6 million people, had used a prescription sleep aid within the past month. Additionally, a shocking one in six adults with a diagnosed sleep disorder, and one in eight adults with reported sleeping troubles, admitted to using prescription sleep aids. As far as the demographic group with the highest reported use, older, non-hispanic, white, female adults with an education were the most prone to using sleeping pills.
"So far, studies on sleep aid use are mostly based on administrative claims data, which describe the number of times sleep aid prescriptions are filled rather than how many people have actually used prescription sleep aids," explains the CDC. "This report provides the first person-based national data on prescription sleep aid use among the noninstitutionalized U.S. adult population."
While older adults, mostly seniors, were found to be the most common users of sleeping pills, younger people are also becoming addicts. A 2008 marketing research study conducted by Thomson Reuters found that, between the years of 1998 and 2006, sleeping pill use among young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 tripled. And based on this fresh data from the CDC, sleeping pill use within this demographic is only expected to continue increasing.
"What's surprising is how rapidly [sleeping pill] use is growing among the young," said William Marder, senior vice president and general manager for the health care business of Thomson Reuters to The New York Times back in 2009. "It's pretty rapid growth for a group that is generally not one of [the] high-utilizers."
Sleeping pills are deadly, so why not try a natural approach?
The reason this is so problematic, of course, is that sleeping pills are not safe and can actually kill you. Ambien users, for instance, commonly report erratic behavior, amnesia and even "sleep driving" and other dangerous activities. Worse, a 2012 study published in the British Medical Journal found that people who take prescription sleeping pills regularly are nearly five times more likely to die within 2.5 years compared to people who do not take the drugs.
"I was praying to God and crying, 'Help me find the exit,'" explained Chicago resident Yvonne Oby, a 60-year-old manager of a legal firm, to NBC News about the effects of Ambien CR on her mental acuity. Oby reportedly suffered a panic-like attack while driving after taking Ambien CR, which made her believe she was driving at a dangerously high speed. "It felt like I had no control."
If you suffer from abnormal or lack of sleep, try getting more exercise and exerting yourself physically at least once a day, whether it be by running, hitting the gym, rough-housing with your children or doing chores at home. If this is not enough, there are other natural ways that you can help promote restful sleep at night, including supplementation with valerian root and melatonin as well as sleep therapy protocols such as keeping a sleep log and engaging in mind relaxation techniques.
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