A recent report in Consumer Reports that looked at sleep habits in the US had some revealing things to say about sleep and medications. If you have problems sleeping, or if you are currently taking sleep medications, this may be of interest to you.According to Consumer Reports (see their website for more information):
- Drug side effects occurred in 63% of people who took sleep medications. 25% said that the became dependent on their sleep meds and 21% said repeated use reduced the effectiveness of the drug.
- In a survey of 1093 people with insomnia, 7% stated that taking a sleeping medication resulted in bizarre and dangerous behavior (beyond the dangerous behavior of taking the drug in the first place) including sleepwalking and sleep driving.
- Even though sleep medications are not recommended for more than two weeks, 14% of Consumer Reports respondents took some sort of sleep medication at least 8 of the past 30 days and 5% took such medications every night.
Consumer Reports analyzed the experiences of 2,021 problem sleepers and discovered that 75% of them found prescription medications helpful. In a finding that is not surprising to us, 70% of this same population found the use of a sound machine just as helpful. If you are having problems with your sleep, we encourage you to come in and talk to us about it because it could be a larger concern than you realize. For example, a recent study has shown that untreated sleep-disorder breathing may triple your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, stroke, and other problems. We are well versed in the principles of sleep hygiene as well as a number of effective medication-free approaches to insomnia, such as the use of sound machines, natural supplements, acupuncture interventions, dietary considerations, lifestyle and stress counseling, and relaxation techniques.