Popping pills for sleep

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Reported by: MirandaChristian
Updated: 11/16/2011 11:25 am Published: 11/15/2011 8:30 pm

Philip Zoellner Runs Dr. Zzz’s Sleep Center. He said he’s seen an increase in women clients.

“Almost 50 percent of our clients,” said Zoellner. "The American way: we take a pill for everything. We take a pill to lose weight, we take a pill to get up, and we take a pill to go to sleep."

According to IMS Health, a Connecticut health care consulting firm, millions of U.S. got a prescription last year to help them sleep.

"Its tough sometimes," said Lark Namavar.

Namavar has been taking Ambien for the past two years. She pops a pill before bed every night. Namavar said her days are often packed with errands. By the time her day is over, she’s too wired to fall asleep without medicine.

"It’s usually around midnight when things settle down," said Namavar. "In the past I tried Tylenol or Benadryl."

"We are overscheduled as a society,” said John Schumann, M.D. "We're overmedicated. The more you take them, the more you require a higher dose you'll need to achieve sleep."

The National Sleep Foundation suggests people practice what it calls Sleep Hygiene. The NSF said people should avoid napping throughout the day, as it could disturb the normal sleep pattern.

Also, people should avoid caffeine, and nicotine, especially close to bed time.  Exercise can promote good sleep too.

The NSF also urges people to put away cell phones, computers and turn of televisions when trying to sleep.

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