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America in the midst of a sleep epidemic

August 6, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Consumer and health experts say there is more you should know about sleep medications, plus other ways to get a good night's rest.A Consumer Reports survey says Americans are sleeping less than ever.

"America is the midst of a sleep epidemic. Fifty percent of those surveyed couldn't sleep the night before they participated in our survey," said Tod Marks, Consumer Reports.

Respondents found prescription medications the most effective treatment. However, 63 percent experienced side effects. Thirteen percent experienced dizziness, 15 percent had memory loss, 24 percent became dependent on the drug, and 37 percent experienced daytime drowsiness.

In another Consumer Reports survey of people with chronic sleeping problems, 7 percent experienced bizarre side effects.

"Sleep-walking, sleep-eating, and even sleep-driving. Those are rare conditions but very serious ones," said Marks.

Sound machines were the most effective non-drug treatment in the survey. Seventy percent who used them found them effective. Consumer Reports tested three machines on the "white-noise" setting.

"Their favorite was the Brookstone Tranquil Moments Sound Therapy System. The downside is its price - around $130," said Marks.

 

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