A study from Thomson Reuters found the use of prescription sleep aids among adults between the
age of 18 and 24 tripled between 1998 and 2006. Researchers also found
that during the time of the study, the average length of time sleep aids
were used by adults under 45 jumped by more than 40 percent - up to 93
days in 2006 from 64 days in 1998. These are alarming facts, as we're
willing to go out on a limb and guess that many of those users may be
suffering from a sleep disorder, but are hiding their symptoms with
these sleep aids.
The best thing to do when you suspect you're suffering from a sleep
disorder is to see a sleep specialist who may recommend a sleep
study. This is the most efficient way to determine the real cause of the
problem, and to go about solving it. While sleep aids may assist one in
masking symptoms, that's about all they do. They won't help solve the
problem. Undergoing a sleep study allows sleep technicians to analyze
your sleeping patterns, and to get to the real root of your problem(s).
Don't get us wrong, there are times when sleep aids will do the trick.
But if you're suffering from a sleep disorder, there may be other
courses of treatment that won't require you to be on medication.
We've mentioned this before, but it always bears repeating -
especially given the results of this study. Symptoms of sleep disorders,
which sleep aids may help, but shouldn't be the solution for, include:
- Brief periods of not breathing and/or choking or gasping during sleep- Waking during sleep and restless sleep
- Excessive daytime sleepiness and falling asleep at inappropriate times
- Personality changes/disorders
- Loss of concentration
- Morning headaches
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, the
first step should be to see a sleep specialist who may recommend you
undergo a sleep study. This will help your doctors determine if your
problems are due to sleep-related issues or other health issues, and
there are times when the course of treatment may not require medication.
The bottom line is, sleep disorders need to be taken seriously - this
is one time where taking the easy way out may be harmful for your