Record Sales of Sleeping Pills


At least 10 percent of Americans report they have trouble falling asleep, and many are turning to sleeping pills for help. About 42 million sleeping pill prescriptions were filled last year, according to the research company ims Health—a sharp 60 percent increase since 2000 (New York Times, February 7).

Sleeping pills are being oversubscribed “without enough regard to known, if rare, side effects or the implications of long-term use.” Experts warn of sleep aids causing sleepwalking, short-term amnesia and, perhaps more significantly, dependency (addiction), sleepiness the next day and possible abuse.

Insomnia is certainly a sign of an overworked, overwrought society, as some researchers recognize. But the massive number of sleeping pill prescriptions being filled is also a symptom of a society overly dependant on drugs to fix all its problems so it can continue in destructive habits. After all, pills only treat the effect. The solution lies in changing the cause—the way we live, work and eat.