Know these facts before reaching for the prescription bottle. Insomnia affects about 25% of the adult population in the U.S. For those with sleep disorders, it’s the number one complaint. I don’t want to you to stay up worrying, but the following statistics are alarming
- Chronic or severe insomnia affects 50-70 million Americans
- Women face a higher risk for insomnia than men
- 44% of the adults ages 55-84 in the U.S. have interrupted sleep at least three nights a week.
- Sleep disorders are related to stress, health conditions, living in an assisted living facility or nursing home, and circadian rhythms changes due to age.
- Side effects of insomnia include obesity, diabetes, pain, depression, stroke, heart attack, and higher blood pressure.
- Older adults make up 13% of the U.S. population, and about a third of them are taking an over-the-counter (OTC) medication.
- OTC sleep aids are used at least 20 days a month by 35% of adults 50 and older, according to a recent study.
Even if the best sleep aid for insomnia works like a charm, long-term or every day use can be dangerous.. Prescription insomnia cures are usually recommended to be taken on a limited basis. This is especially true for older Americans, due to the side effects associated with the active ingredient diphenhydramine. Older adults taking medications more than 2-3 days need to be aware of the side effects associated with diphenhydramine, including delirium, cognitive impairment, increased aging, and others.
Pros and cons of OTC insomnia treatment medications for older adults haven’t been determined. However, with the increased risk of side effects and .the likelihood that other prescription and OT are often used with them, a deadly combination may be created. Women may face an increased risk, since they often metabolize certain drugs slower than men and require lower doses.
If you need sleep apnea treatment or suffer from another sleep disorder, it’s important to speak to your doctor and not self-medicate. You deserve a good night’s sleep, but not at the risk of having a permanent resting place.