A new British study shows that half of those who have trouble sleeping are taking sleep aids without consulting a doctor.
The research, which was conducted by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, was based on a survey of 2,077 people. In addition to finding that far too many people are medicating without talking to a physician first, it was also found that the self-treated insomnia was often part of other physical or mental health problems which needed medical treatment.
Insomnia is difficulty in getting to sleep, staying asleep or getting enough good quality sleep night after night. One in three people in the UK are thought to have bouts of insomnia, which can be caused by psychiatric problems such as depression, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia. Other illnesses including heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and hormonal problems can also disturb the normal pattern of sleep.
In the survey, 30% of people said they had taken sleeping pills for more than a month without getting advice while 14% had gone six months.