A new report from the CDC says 4% of Americans take sleeping pills. A Houston doctor says there are simple steps you can take to get to sleep naturally.
Is 4% a lot? Sleep specialist Dr. Pedro Aquino at UT Health Science Center says it's more than it should be.
"4% ends up being a little bit of a larger population."
Dr. Aquino says a lot of his patients fall asleep reading, working or watching TV. He says they also eat in bed.
"I think what that does is it changes the body to think of the bed as just a piece of furniture and not a place to rest."
Dr. Aquino says if you primarily use the bed for sleeping, you'll eventually train yourself to fall asleep without pills.
"Normally sleeping pills are only a short term, 15 to 30 days. If it's more than that then there's something else going on. It could be factors such as stressors at work, it could be depression, and it could be a chronic medical illness."