November 21, 2013 | 134,112 views

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By Dr. Mercola

The first-ever federal health study about sleeping pill usage suggests that sleep is growing ever more elusive for Americans.1 According to the latest information, between 50 and 70 million Americans suffer from sleep deprivation, with increasing numbers relying on prescription sleep aids.2

The CDC report, based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2005 to 2010), found that nearly nine million Americans take prescription sleeping pills in pursuit of good night’s rest.

Usage differences were found based on age, gender, race and ethnicity. The report listed the following key findings:

  • About four percent of US adults age 20 and above use prescription sleep aids
  • The percentage of adults using prescription sleep aids increases with age and education; more adult women (5 percent) used prescription sleep aids than adult men (3.1 percent)
  • Non-Hispanic white adults were more likely to use sleep aids (4.7 percent) than non-Hispanic black adults (2.5 percent) and Mexican-American adults (2 percent)
  • Prescription sleep aid use varied by sleep duration and was highest among adults who sleep less than five hours (6.0 percent) or more than nine hours (5.3 percent)
  • One in six adults with a diagnosed sleep disorder and one in eight adults with trouble sleeping reported using sleep aids

The hardest hit group is the elderly—seven percent of individuals over the age of 80 are relying on prescription sleep aids, including hypnotic drugs (such as Ambien and Lunesta) and sedating antidepressants.

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