ATLANTA – Cant get enough shuteye? Nearly 9 million U.S. adults resort to prescription sleeping pills – and most are white, female, educated or 50 or older, according to the first government study of its kind.
But thats only part of the picture. Experts believe there are millions more who try options like over-the-counter medicines or chamomile tea, or simply suffer through sleepless nights.
Not everyone is running out to get a prescription drug, said Russell Rosenberg, an Atlanta-based sleep researcher.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study was based on interviews with about 17,000 adults from 2005 through 2010.
Overall, 4 percent of adults said theyd taken a prescription sleeping pill or sedative in the previous month.
The study did not say whether use is increasing. But a CDC researcher calculated that use rose from 3.3 percent in 2003-06 to 4.3 percent in 2007-10.
Sleep disorders overall are more prevalent than what they were, said Dr. Ana Krieger, medical director of New Yorks Weill Cornell Center for Sleep Medicine.
That could be due to a number of factors, experts said.
Some include obesity-related sleep apnea, the rise of social media and other electronic late-night distractions and financial worries from the recent recession.