The newsLINK Group - The Search for Sleep

Editorial Library Category: Health Topics: Sleep Title: The Search for Sleep Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: How did you sleep last night? In fact, how well do you sleep in general? If you can’t give a positive answer to that question, it turns out you are not alone. The U.S. has a sleep problem, and it appears to be getting worse over time. Editorial: The Search for Sleep 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 How did you sleep last night? In fact, how well do you sleep in general? If you can’t give a positive answer to that question, it turns out you are not alone. The U.S. has a sleep problem, and it appears to be getting worse over time. In August 2013, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) released Data Brief No. 127. That’s a dry name for a decidedly relevant topic: according to a survey conducted between 2005 and 2010, approximately 8.6 million people in the U.S. are currently taking sleeping pills, such as Ambien or Lunesta. The government researchers who performed the study went to the homes of 17,000 people and even examined their medicine cabinets. The key findings were as follows: About 4 percent of all U.S. adults who are 20 or older had used a prescription drug to help them sleep during the last month. According to Dr. Yinong Chong, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the first author listed on the study, people used a drug either because they couldn’t fall asleep, or because they couldn’t fall back to sleep if they woke up. Older people and more educated people were more likely to take a drug; 5 percent of adult women took something, but only 3.1 percent of adult men. About 4.7 percent of white adults were likely to take something, as compared to 2.5 percent black and 2.0 percent Hispanic adults. The people who were most likely to use a prescription either slept less than five hours (6 percent) or slept nine hours or more (5.3 percent). Of adults who had been diagnosed with a sleep disorder, one in six used a sleep aid. For those who had not been diagnosed, the number was one in eight adults. It is possible that some of the gender difference has to do with fertility; according to an article published in 2002 by Dr. Christer Hublin and Dr. Marrku Partinen, women who are perimenopausal or who have gone through menopause are more likely to have problems sleeping than women who have not yet experienced menopause. Maybe this is true because of symptoms associated with menopause such as night sweats or sleep apnea resulting from weight gain. According to a 2008 market research study from Thomson Reuters, use of sleeping pill prescriptions has tripled for those younger than 45. Doctors prescribed about 59 million sleeping pills in 2012. That is a three-million pill increase from 2008, when doctors prescribed about 56 million pills. Why so many pills? According to Dr. Roneil Malkani, who is an assistant neurology professor at Chicago’s Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine and who specializes in sleep medicine, sleep problems are a reflection of the stresses people must deal with on a daily basis as they try to navigate job and family responsibilities. The Institute of Medicine estimates that approximately 50 million to 70 million people in the U.S. either have a sleep disorder or are sleep deprived. The CDS has stated that most people need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, but about a third of all adults get less than that. Sleeping pill use begins to increase once people are in their forties or fifties. At that age, people are often unable to sleep because of the stress of daily life; jobs, expectations, responsibilities, and family problems. The Great Recession probably didn’t help, either. The NCHS study found that people slept worse during the years when the U.S. was struggling financially; 3.8 percent in 2005 and 2006, as opposed to 4.5 percent in 2007 and 2008. After 2008, the percentage dropped again. People are more likely to experience problems sleeping as they age. For example, about seven percent of those over the age of 80 have developed a problem. The underlying difficulty at that point isn’t stress anymore; instead, the sleep problems are usually caused by one or more chronic diseases. No matter what medicine you talk about, there are both risks and benefits. What are the risks associated with taking

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