Sleep Aid Use Rises Amid Safety Concerns

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By Larry Burkum

ATLANTA, Georgia - Some eye-opening news about sleep aids. A new study reveals that more and more of us are taking pills to get some sleep, and that they may be much more dangerous than we believe.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 4% of adults, or about 9 million people, say they took a sleeping medication within the last 30 days.

Women are more likely to do so than men, and so are those in their 50s, and especially those 80 and older.

The experts say it's better to treat the real problem - anything from an illness to poor sleeping habits.

"The problem is if you mask insomnia using medication you might be masking the underlying condition," said Dr. Gholam Motamed, a neurologist at Georgetown University.

Also of concern: the potential side effects, including in some cases, so-called sleep driving - somehow ending up behind the wheel after taking the medication.

The FDA is looking more closely at sleeping pills and how long this drowsiness can last.
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