A study in the August issue of the American Journal of Public Health examined the “medicalization” of sleeplessness.  The authors examined the trend in sleeplessness complaints, diagnoses and prescriptions of sedative hypnotics in physician office visits from 1993 to 2007.

Results suggest that sleeplessness complaints and insomnia diagnoses increased over time; however, they were far outpaced by prescriptions for sedative hypnotics.  The authors expressed concerns that the potential overtreatment of insomnia “with marginally effective, expensive medications with nontrivial side effects raises definite population health concerns.”

“Many people take them like a multivitamin – daily and indefinitely,” lead author Mairead Eastin Moloney, PhD, said in an article about the study that was posted on youbeauty.com.