As a society we have become fixated on “I must get X number of hours of sleep or I will not be able to function properly tomorrow.” So when we can’t sleep, we take a sleeping pill.
Zopiclone, one of the so-called “Z” drugs — has nearly doubled from 2.9 million prescriptions, to five million in 2011. The drugs intended for short-term use only often have prescriptions for a month’s supply, with six or more repeats. The risk of dependency increases with potentially “horrendous” withdrawal.
“I think the sort of party chatter is, ‘Well, if I can’t sleep I’ll just have a sleeping pill tonight’ as they’re downing their fourth glass of red wine,” said Anne Rochon Ford, executive director of the Canadian Women’s Health Network. “It doesn’t seem to set of any alarm bells for a lot of people, and that’s very disturbing.