A recent study has shown that several Americans, to the tune of one in six often have trouble falling asleep, and around 4.5 percent of them use some alternative medicine or the other to treat their sleeping problems.
Dr. Nancy J. Pearson and colleagues from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, "Most respondents who used herbal therapies or relaxation techniques found these therapies helpful for managing their insomnia or trouble sleeping."
The team led by Pearson analyzed how the sleeping difficulties faced commonly were. They also analyzed how alternative treatment forms were used in the treatment. This information was from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey.
Among the people who were surveyed 17.4 percent reported that over the past 12 months they had difficulties sleeping or had problems of insomnia. In addition they found 4.5 percent of the people used complementary or alternative medicine to help them sleep better.
The most commonly used remedies were relaxation exercises and herbs. 60 percent of the people used alternative medicine for insomnia. This was a common practice among the younger, more educated people.
People with anxiety or depression were also found to be over five times more likely to suffer from insomnia. Congestive heart failure was another factor which doubled the risk of sleeping problems. Hypertension and obesity also contributed towards insomnia, although to a lesser degree.
Sleeping troubles peaked among 45- to 54-year-olds, declined somewhat for older people, and then increased again among those 85 and older which was contradictory to past research which suggested that insomnia is most common among the elderly.
The researchers conclude, "Taken together, our data justify further research on the efficacy of these complementary and alternative medicine therapies to treat sleeping disorders such as insomnia and trouble sleeping."