Battling Insomnia

One person told us, "I find it very hard to fall asleep."

Another said,"When I finally do fall asleep. I maybe sleep two or three hours. Then I'm up."

A third asks, "Why can't I sleep? I'm so tired. I know I've got to be up with the kids in the morning."

The number one reason we can't sleep is, not surprisingly, work-related stress, followed by health problems and financial difficulties. That according to a Consumer Reports survey of more than 26,000 of its subscribers.

Elissa Schuler-Adair with Consumer Reports found, "Problem sleepers suffered on average 12 years."

Consumer Reports also asked people what helps them "sleep tighter."

Medications are at the top of the list. Those polled said over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol PM, Advil PM, and Nyquil were helpful - though not the best.

Elissa explains, "40% of respondents said they helped a lot, compared to the newer prescription sleep medications like Ambien and its generic zolpidem. Those scored at 70%."

But a serious drawback - a significant number of people were overusing prescription drugs - taking them at least 27 of the past 30 nights.

Elissa says, "Most of them are approved for at max 10 days. And there are concerns about using them for longer just because of rebound insomnia, dependency, and side effects like next-day grogginess."

Given these drawbacks, alternative therapies like yoga and meditation are worth considering. At least a quarter of those who tried alternative treatments found they helped.

Consumer Reports says if you are having trouble sleeping, also worth considering is a white-noise machine. More than 40% of those who tried one of these devices said they helped them sleep better.

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