Well-Being Medical Advances

18 percent of adults using some type of sleep medication: study

Women tended to use medication for sleep more than men.
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Story at a glance

  • New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 18 percent of adults use medication for sleep.  

  • Ten percent of people said they use a type of sleep medication “some days,” and 6.3 percent said they use medication “every day.” 

  • Non-Hispanic white people were the most likely to use a medication for sleep, according to the data.

Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. adults are turning to sleep medication to get a good night’s rest, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The agency analyzed data from the 2020 National Health Interview Survey that looked at how many American men and women use sleep medications to fall or stay asleep during a 30-day period.

The CDC discovered that 10 percent of U.S. adults reported taking a sleep medication “some days” to help them fall or stay asleep, while 6.3 percent did it every day and 2.1 percent took one “most” days.

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Age, gender, income and ethnicity all played a role in how frequently adults used sleep medication. 

As family income increased, sleep medication use decreased, the CDC found. 

Women were more likely than men to use a type of sleep medication and older adults were more likely than younger adults to rely on a form of sleep medication to fall or stay asleep, the CDC found.  

About 10 percent of women versus 6.6 percent of men reported using a sleep medication within a one-month period.

About 6 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 44 said they use a type of sleep medication, while a little more than 10 percent of adults aged 45-64 said they used a medication to fall or stay asleep.  

Meanwhile, almost 12 percent of adults 65 years old or older said they used a sleep medication.  

The highest percentage of adults who took a sleep medication every day or most days were non-Hispanic white adults.  

More than 10 percent of non-Hispanic white adults, 6.1 percent of non-Hispanic Black adults and 4.6 Hispanic adults took medication for sleep every day or most days, according to the data.

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