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Prescription sleep aid use in U.S. adults by sleep duration 2005-2010

This statistic indicates the percentage of U.S. adults aged 20 and over that have used prescription sleep aids in the last 30 days between 2005 and 2010 by sleep duration. Those who maintain seven hours of sleep per night were reported to be less likely to use prescription sleep aids, with 3.2 percent of the surveyed population between 2005 and 2010 using sleep aids. Sleep aids are used to maintain or prompt sleep through the supression of activities within the central nervous system. The pharmaceutical industry has witnessed an increase in sleep aid prescriptions in the United States.

Prescription sleep aid use in U.S. adults by sleep duration

An estimated 50 to 70 million people in the U.S. are sleep deprived or have a sleep disorder. Prescription sleep aids may help provide much needed sleep to the sleep deprived. Sleep disorder prevalence and use of prescription sleep medication tends to increase with age. With the growth in the prescription sleep aid market, the global sleeping pill industry is projected to reach 9.0 billion U.S. dollars by 2015. However, long-term use of prescription sleep aids have also been associated with other health problems such as cardiovascular disease. Zolpidem, the active ingredient in sleep aids like Ambien, was involved in increasing emergency room visits in the period from 2005 to 2011 in the United States. There are several forms of treatment outside of prescription sleep aids such as behavioral and psychotherapeutic treatments, rehabilitation, and even hypnosis.

In adults, seven hours of sleep is recommended by the National Sleep Foundation for optimal performance during the day. There has been a decrease in the number of hours that full-time workers are able to sleep in the last decades. Only 3.2 percent of United States adults that received seven hours of sleep per night used prescription medication based figures from 2005 to 2010. A 2008 survey indicated that almost every night, 28 percent of U.S. adults were awake through most of the night and 16 percent had difficulty falling asleep. All-cause mortality has been associated with shorter sleep duration in adults, in comparison with those who received seven to eight hours on a regular basis. Hypertension, obesity, and diabetes have also been studied based on their link to a lack of sleep.

Percentage of U.S. adults who have used prescription sleep aids in the last month between 2005 to 2010, by sleep duration

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Release date

August 2013


United States

Survey time period

2005 to 2010

Age group

20 years and older

Supplementary notes

* Age-adjusted percentage of adults aged 20 and over who used prescription sleep aids in the past 30 days.
Sleep aids include all hypnotic drugs as well as four antidepressant or sedative medications that are often prescribed for both insomnia and depression.
Data is adjusted to 2000 U.S. stadard population projections for the age groups 20-39, 40-59, and 60 and over.

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