A study has revealed that more than half of insomniacs put their health at risk by taking sleeping pills without doctor's advice.
According to research by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, around 30 percent of people struggling to sleep have taken remedies for more than a month without talking to a doctor, and 14 percent for longer than six months, the Mirror reported.
But the study of 2,000 people also found that in 80 percent of cases there were underlying health problems, such as heart disease, that needed to be dealt with immediately.
"If it lasts longer than a month, there will possibly be an underlying medical condition," the RPS's Neal Patel said.
"It could be a mental health problem, like depression, or a physical symptom like asthma," Patel said
It is believed 25 percent of adults have trouble sleeping and up to 10 percent have insomnia.
There has been a rise in the use of pills, with NHS spending on the drugs reaching nearly 50 million pounds last year.