Good Night’s Sleep Eludes Many in U.S.
Restless Nights Prompt Many to Pop Sleeping Pills Too Quickly and Too Often, Survey Shows
What Problem Sleepers Have In Common
Ask a problem sleeper what keeps him or her up at night, and chances are you'll hear "stress" or " anxiety." The Consumer Reports survey found that high stress levels were common among problem sleepers.
Most of the time, tossing and turning was due to the following stressors:
- Health issues
- Family troubles
- Money woes
- Work worries
Alternatives to Sleeping Pills
Drugs should not be your first resort when treating sleep problems. The magazine notes that sound machines can work just as well as pills. In a parallel survey of problem sleepers, 70% said sound machines helped them nod off and stay asleep most nights. However, only half of those with the most severe insomnia said the noisemakers were helpful.
Over-the-counter sleep aids and changes in sleep behavior patterns were not as effective:
- 57% said OTC sleeping pills helped on most nights
- Half said a consistent sleep and wake routine made a difference on most nights
- Muscle relaxation techniques worked for less than half (40%)
Four Tips for Getting Some Sleep
Consumer Reports offers the following tips:
- Try non-medicated options first, such as sound machines and relaxation techniques.
Nix sleep-disrupting habits such as long or late-day naps, an inconsistent sleep/wake routine, eating or watching TV in bed, or eating too late at night. Don't share your bed with pets or children.
- Buy a new mattress if yours is more than eight years old.
- Make an appointment with your doctor if you toss and turn several nights a week for at least three months.