Feb. 8, 2023 -- Almost 1 in 5 American adults regularly use prescription or over-the-counter medicine to help them sleep, a new government report says.

Just 2% say they take something every night to help them fall asleep or stay asleep, while 6% reported using something most nights. And 10% say they use something sometimes.

The report came from the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the CDC.

Some of the sleep aids are prescription and some are available over the counter.

The report said more women use sleep medication than men. And use goes up with age generally.

Experts advise most people to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. The CDC says a third of adults don’t get enough sleep.

The nonprofit group Mental Health America says nearly two-thirds of adults report that they lose sleep because of stress, according to The Washington Post. “Not getting enough sleep raises the risk for various diseases and disorders, including heart disease, obesity and dementia.”

Regular, solid sleep brings a range of health benefits to brain and body – “with some saying it’s as important as diet and exercise for a long and healthy life,” The Post wrote.

Experts prefer people overcome sleep trouble without resorting to long-term use of sleep aids. These can include sticking to a sleep schedule, avoiding use of electronics before bedtime, and limiting nicotine and caffeine use.

Show Sources

The Washington Post: “18 percent of U.S. adults use medication to help them sleep”

National Center for Health Statistics: “Sleep Medication Use in Adults Aged 18 and Over: United States, 2020”


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