One in ten Britons taking pills to get to sleep
One in ten people is taking pills to get to sleep at least three times a week, according to research that suggests a lack of rest is storing up serious health risks for millions of Britons.
The scientists behind the work said a good night’s sleep should be seen as just as important to healthy living as diet and exercise.
The Economic and Social Research Council, which questioned 40,000 families, found that one in eight people now sleeps for less than six hours a night, with more than half taking 30 minutes to drop off at least once a week.
The scientists said those who took pills were deceiving themselves if they thought they were getting proper rest, because a chemical “quick fix” is no substitute for proper rest.
Professor Sara Arber, of the University of Surrey, who led the research, said part of the problem was that “there’s almost a macho image around not needing much sleep”.
Margaret Thatcher, as Prime Minister, famously boasted she managed fine on four hours a night but the experts said this pattern would lead to sleep deprivation and an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Professor Francesco Cappuccio, of the University of Warwick, told The Times, which reported the findings: “If you sleep less than five hours on a regular basis, your long term chance of developing these diseases increases dramatically.
“Anything you do to work against your body clock will have consequences on your physiology.”
Neil Stanley, a leading independent sleep researcher, told the paper: “A lot of people reach for medication as a quick fix rather than looking at the lifestyle and environmental issues that may be causing their sleep problems. ”
“There’s no medicine that gives a natural sleep. They give you a drug induced sleep.”
Tags: Health, healthcare, mental health, Risk of Drugs