Winter Blues – Sleep Aids

Feeling tired? How often do you feel tired? How many hours of sleep do you get each night? Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep?

It seems that during the winter months we often feel more sluggish and tired than normal due to the lack of sunlight. But, this shift can also cause our internal clocks to be a little off causing more sleep issues than normal. What do you do when you can’t sleep?

Many people turn to sleep aids.

A study (Quickstats) performed throughout 2017 and 2018 surveyed men and women of all age groups to see how many took medication four or more times per week to help them sleep. The results were shocking.

On average, 6% of men and 10% of women were taking sleep aids at least four times per week! Broken down into age groups, the data was even more interesting. The younger the person, the fewer the number of people taking the medication. However, men were found to increase steadily by age group, with 3% of 18-44 year olds, 8% of 45-64 year olds, and 10% of 65+ saying they took medication at least four times per week.

For women, the difference by age group was drastic. only 5% of women 18-44 years old said they took sleep aids that often, while the 45-65 and 65+ groups were nearly equal with 12% and 13%, respectively. What is the reason for this dramatic increase? We can’t blame it all on winter! But, those winter blues could certainly play a part. So, make sure you’re trying to keep that internal clock steady and you’re getting as much rest as you need during these cold, dreary months!


QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Aged ≥18 Years Who Took Medication To Help Fall or Stay Asleep Four or More Times in the Past Week, by Sex and Age Group — National Health Interview Survey, United States, 2017–2018. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;68:1150. DOI: icon.

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