Insomnia is rampant in this country. A just-published survey of Consumer Reports subscribers found 60% frequently had trouble getting to sleep...or were waking up in the night unable to get back to sleep.
The number one reason we can't sleep is, not surprisingly, work-related stress, followed by health problems and financial difficulties.
That's according to a Consumer Reports survey of more than 26,000 of its subscribers.
Elissa Schuler-Adair of Consumer Reports says, "Problem sleepers suffered on average 12 years."
Consumer Reports also asked people what helps them "sleep tighter."
Medications are at the top of the list. Those polled said over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol PM, Advil PM, and Nyquil were helpful-though not the best.
Adair says, "40% of respondents said they helped a lot, compared to the newer prescription sleep medications like Ambien and its generic Zolpidem. Those scored at 70%."
But a serious drawback-a significant number of people were overusing prescription drugs-taking them at least 27 of the past 30 nights.
Adair says, "Most of them are approved for at max 10 days. And there are concerns about using them for longer just because of rebound insomnia, dependencey, and side effects like next-day grogginess."
Given the drawbacks, alternative therapies like yoga and meditation are worth considering. At least a quarter of those who tried alternative treatments found they helped.
Consumer Reports says if you are having trouble sleeping, also worth considering is a white-noise machine.
More than 40% of those who tried on of these devices said they helped them sleep better.