According to a 2013 survey, more than 8.6 million American adults use prescription sleep aids and sleep aid use increases with age. sfgate.com. It is also noted that sleep aid use is higher among women and that many Americans are using these medications several times a week and for longer than a year.
Sleep aids can be helpful in short term situations, but long term use can lead to numerous complications including increase tolerance and dependence on sleep aids in the future. Sleeping pills do not greatly improve sleep. Sleeping pills only increase total sleep time, and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, by about 10 minutes . This is a very small gain in comparison to the significant side effects, particularly in adults age 60+. These side effects include impaired learning and memory, daytime drowsiness, dependency, and increased risk of overdose and depression as well as traumatic brain injury and dementia in the elderly.Research also suggests that sleeping pills and drugs of abuse share the same pathways involved in addiction, and 33 of 34 studies have shown an association between sleeping pill use and and a shorter lifespan.
There are many non-medication strategies for managing sleep and retraining the body to fall asleep naturally. We encourage you to explore this site for additional ideas. Please follow the link below for more detailed description of the risks and benefits of prescription sleep aids.