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AASM statement on use of sleep medications
Date:1/23/2008

INSOMNIA AND SLEEP MEDICATIONS

Insomnia occurs when people have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, and it is a common sleep compliant. While a brief case of insomnia can arise due to temporary stress, excitement or other emotion, more than 20 million Americans report having a chronic form of insomnia that keeps them from sleeping well nearly every night. As a result, the insomnia, which is a serious and often debilitating condition, can lead to severe daytime fatigue, poor performance at school and work, physical symptoms such as headaches, and in some cases depression.

People suffering from insomnia need to know that there are effective treatments and their sleep can improve. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that people who experience insomnia see a sleep medicine specialist or primary care physician for proper diagnosis and to discuss treatment options before treatment with medications is undertaken. This evaluation should also look for specific causes of insomnia such as restless legs syndrome or depression.

Sleep medications are often used for the short-term treatment of insomnia and, on occasion, for more chronic insomnia. Medications that currently are available by prescription are known to improve sleep by reducing the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, increasing sleep duration and/or reducing the number of awakenings during sleep. While modern hypnotics are considered safe, individuals should be aware that, like all medications, side effects may occur in a minority of patients. These side effects can include sleep walking, sleep eating and other complex sleep behaviors as well as difficulty with memory.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PATIENTS

Behavioral therapies and medications have been shown to be effective therapies for insomnia. Behavioral therapies use nonpharmacologic methods to improve sleep and are effective and long lasting. Sleep medications are effective and sa
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Contact: Kathleen McCann
kmccann@aasmnet.org
708-492-0930
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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