Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thanks, capitalism: Human sleep pattern disrupted from our instinctual sleeping habits, causing chronic insomnia

BED is a medicine," instructs an Italian proverb. Increasingly, Americans are inverting that counsel by ingesting sleeping pills to speed their slumber.

With complaints of insomnia mounting, and marketing by drug companies becoming ever more ubiquitous, we are turning in increasing numbers to drugs like Ambien and Lunesta. According to a recent report from the research company IMS Health, pharmacists in the United States filled some 42 million prescriptions for sleeping pills last year, a rise of nearly 60 percent since 2000.

Are we running too quickly to the medicine cabinet? Or is insomnia genuinely reaching epidemic proportions, a consequence perhaps of the frenetic pace of modern life? (read more)