Older Americans Reluctant to Use Sleep Meds: Survey

older man sleepingNearly half (46 percent) of older Americans get less than seven hours of  sleep a night and 25 percent believe they have a sleep problem, says a Gallup survey released Thursday by the International Longevity Center-USA.

Nearly 40 percent of those with sleep problems cited worry as a cause of
their inability to get a good night’s sleep. That issue was especially common for those who were primary caregivers for a parent or other family member.

The telephone survey of 1,003 adults 50 years and older also found that many of them have concerns about taking prescription sleep medications. Those concerns include addiction (68 percent), long-term side effects (77 percent), and next-day grogginess. Only nine percent said they felt prescription sleep aids were “very safe.”

Most of the respondents (80 percent) recognize the importance of sleep to their health, but many who experience sleep problems aren’t receiving treatment. The survey found that 53 percent of the older adults who talked with their health providers about a sleep problem aren’t receiving treatment.

Men were more likely than women (38 percent vs. 27 percent) to say they get a good night’s sleep seven nights a week. The 46 percent of respondents who rated their health as “excellent” were most likely to say they get a good night’s sleep every night of the week, the survey found.