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Women More Likely to Become Addicted to Sleeping Pills

As women, we balance many responsibilities every day and often have many people depending on us. All of that can lead to a great deal of stress, which in turn often leads to trouble sleeping. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50 million to 70 million Americans are struggling with a sleep disorder. The use of prescription sleep aids to treat these disorders is highest among women and the prevalence of use increases with age and level of education.

Women More Likely to Use and Abuse

Women use sleeping pills more often than men and experts believe this is a result of the hectic, modern lifestyles that we lead. Many women in the U.S. today are struggling to strike a balance between work and family responsibilities and the results are stress and lack of sleep. When your brain is chugging away at night trying to think of everything that needs to be done tomorrow, falling asleep becomes a challenge. Instead of giving up on any duties or looking for more time-consuming, natural solutions, we turn to prescription medications to get a good night’s sleep.

What experts also know about women and sleeping pills is that we are more vulnerable to addiction. Women are more likely than men to develop a habit when using sleeping pills. We are also affected by the medications in ways that are different from men. Because of higher testosterone levels, men can metabolize a common sleep medication that is found in drugs like Ambien. Women are more likely to be impaired when using this drug or to suffer from memory loss.

How Do Sleeping Pills Turn into an Addiction?

Sleeping pills are not as addictive as some drugs, like prescription painkillers, for instance. They are also not as addictive as sleep aids that have been used in the past. But, because sleeping pills help women get rest at night, many find that they become dependent on them. If you have been using a sleep aid night after night, you will eventually learn to associate that pill with sleep. It can then become very difficult to try to fall asleep without it. Most sleep aids are only supposed to be used for one or two weeks because of this possibility of dependency.

Falling Asleep Naturally

It is possible, even for the most stressed out and overworked women, to fall asleep without the aid of medication. Experts suggest a routine for bedtime. Your body and your brain respond to a regular schedule for sleeping. Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning, no matter what, even on weekends. If you go to bed at 11:00 every night, in time you will begin to get sleep at 11:00.

Your routine should also include relaxing and removing stressful factors. Keep all electronics out of the bedroom. You should not be checking your smartphone, watching TV or reading on a tablet while in bed. An old fashioned book is all that you need to relax and take your mind off of the day behind you and ahead of you.

Practice good relaxation techniques throughout the day. Take small breaks to rest your eyes, take a walk, meditate or read. Practice yoga or spend a relaxing evening with friends to unwind. When you incorporate more stress-mediating activities into your everyday life, you will be more able to sleep at night. You may not see immediate changes, but with time you can transition from a stressed out sleeping pill addict to a relaxed, natural sleeper.

Posted on September 20th, 2014

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