More Americans using pills to get to sleep at night

Studies say insomnia and sleep aid use is on the rise, but research suggests therapy may work better and cost less.
Posted By Brooks Hays  |  Updated Feb. 21, 2014 at 11:30 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- A new study shows more Americans are using sleeping pills to help them fall and stay asleep.

More than a decade ago, only 2 percent of Americans reported using a sleep aid. But today, that number is 3 percent. And more than half of all reported pill-users admitted to trying or mixing more than one kind of sleeping pill.

The new study, published in the journal Sleep, analyzed survey results from 32,000 non-institutionalized American men and women.

A number of previous studies have shown that insomnia is on the rise; that means more American having trouble falling or staying asleep. And many insomniac sufferers say pills just don't do the trick. New research suggests cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, may be more effective at treating insomnia than sleep aids -- and cost less in the long run.

CBT is a form of therapy that coaches people on how to better control they way their thinking process and behaviors react to negative situations; it's like aerobics for your brain. "I thought it was important to bring attention to the fact that it might save money in the long run," Psychologist Christina McCrae told NPR.

Analysis by researchers in 2012 determined that 7.4 percent of all accidents at work were insomnia-related, costing the U.S. some $30 billion.

[Sleep] [NPR]

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