(HealthDay News) – The prevalence of prescription sleep aid use in the past month is about 4% among U.S. adults aged ≥20 years, according to a report published Aug. 29 by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

Yinong Chong, PhD, from the NCHS in Hyattsville, MD, and colleagues used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to assess the prevalence of prescription sleep aid use in the past 30 days among U.S. adults.

According to the report, in the past month, about 4% of U.S. adults aged ≥20 years had used prescription sleeping aids; this percentage increased with age and education. More adult women than men used prescription sleep aids (5% vs. 3.1%). Sleep aids were more likely to be used by non-Hispanic white adults (4.7%) than by non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American adults (2.5% and 2%, respectively). Prescription sleep aid use was highest for adults who sleep <5 hours (6%) or for those who sleep nine or more hours (5.3%). Sleep aid use was reported by one in six adults with a diagnosed sleeping disorder and one in eight with trouble sleeping.

“This report provides the first person-based national data on prescription sleep aid use among the non-institutionalized U.S. adult population,” the authors write. “Approximately 4% of adults aged 20 and over reported using a prescription sleep aid in the past month.”

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