With insomnia on the rise, many Americans are seeking alternatives to pills to get their restful night of sleep. Chiropractic, Acupuncture, mind/body therapies and biologically based therapies are drawing increasing attention and finding favor.
The common solution for sleeping problems for Americans has been to reach for a pill. Drug companies have promoted this with almost $300 million in TV advertising. With over 43 million sleeping pill prescriptions filled in 2005, drug companies raked in over $2 billion in sales.
While pills may be offering a sleeping solution for the vast majority of Americans, a recent analysis of a National Health Interview Survey points to a significant number of persons using alternative methods to treat their condition. Some 1,615,600 people have used alternatives, including Chiropractic and Acupuncture, in their search for a night of sound
The survey polled more than 31,000 U.S. adults to find out why they chose to use alternative therapies over drugs and other treatments. While 67 percent of the people responding simply found alternatives to be interesting, a full 64 percent thought that adding an alternative approach would be helpful in treating their insomnia.
A further breakdown of those using alternative care showed that 4.6 percent of the people used Chiropractic care or massage to manage their condition. By comparison, 8.5 percent utilized alternative medical systems (i.e. Acupuncture, homeopathy), 39.1 percent used mind-body systems (i.e. yoga, meditation), and the remainder using biologically based systems (i.e. natural herbs, megavitamins).
It is of interest to note that younger respondents and those who had attained a higher level of education were more likely to use alternative therapies to treat insomnia or trouble sleeping.
While the information gained from the survey does have limitations, the data points to a positive trend about how Americans perceive the effectiveness of alternative medicine and therapies in general. With expanded education and the maturing of the younger population, the use of alternatives to pills as sleep aids will continue to rise.