Sleep aid use spikes with age and stress

Sleep aid use spikes with age and stress

Sleep aids have been a topic of interest in the news with new regulations on dosages, calling attention to the lingering effects and the rising number of people using them.

This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data on who are the most frequent users of these sleep medications.

The CDC found that adults, mostly women, in their 50s and older are the most common users. Adults ages 50-59 and elderly people over the age of 80 had the highest use rate. The report shows that nearly 8.6 million U.S. adults say they recently used some form of sleep aid, with 6 percent of them being the older adults in their 50s and 7 percent in their 80s and above.

For adults age 20 to 39, the CDC found that only 2 percent of that age group have taken a sleep aid in the past 30 days.

Yinong Chong, researcher with the CDC, believes the older adult age group may have the most trouble falling asleep due to work and family stresses.

“It gives the picture of a sandwiched group who has family, not only children but also probably elderly parents but still you’re likely to be in the workforce, so you get squeezed at both ends in terms of family responsibility and job responsibility,” Chong said in a statement.

Chong says that once people retire they may see improvement in their sleep and discontinue use. Then once frequent medical issues arrive in their 80s they may have sleep issues again, he says.

For women, the report found that 5 percent have taken sleep medication in comparison to 3 percent of men. Chong says more research needs to be done to determine exactly why women were more likely to use sleep aids than men.

Most frequently they found that most people using these aids were only getting about five hours of sleep each night and have been diagnosed with a sleep disorder.

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Sarah Scroggins
Sarah Scroggins

Sarah Scroggins, health enews contributor, is the director of social media at Advocate Aurora Health. She has a BA and MA in Communications. When not on social media, she loves reading a good book (or audiobook), watching the latest Netflix series and teaching a college night class.