F or many people , getting to bed at night can be a struggle. Y ou lay there staring at the ceiling trying to fall asleep. W hen all else fails , you turn to medication for help.
" We're a pill taking society as you can imagine, we go a hundred miles per hour during the day then at night we need something to slow us down ," Modern Pharmacy Pharmacist Carl McCready said.
C arl McCready has been a pharmacist in Cheboygan for more than 30 years. Over time he seen the science of sleep evolve.
" People definitely use more sleeping type products now weather be over the counter or other, but we know a lot more about sleep now than we used to ," McCready said.
M c C ready has seen his stack of sleeping pill p re scriptions grow over the years. H e sees ten times as many as he did at the beginning of his career. Many of those medications are being prescribed by sleep specialists like Dr. David Knitter at Mclaren Northern Michigan.
"I t is a relatively new field or we understand about sleep is also evolved a great deal , I mean 40 years ago we didn ' t even know if we dreamed or not so there's a lot of things about sleep that are very new ," Dr. Knitter explained.
T here's an ongoing debate in the medical community over prescription and over - the - counter sleeping pills. S ome research has linked them to cancer, d e mentia, and early death. T hese studies , while debated, have prompted doctors to look for other alternatives to medication.
" I think what is changed is that we have all host of ways to disrupt our sleep that we didn't have a generation ago ," Dr. Knitter said.
S ome of those disruptions are , having your cell phone near you at all times at night , watching TV before falling asleep, or sleeping in other places besides your bed. Dr. Knitter says cutting these habits out of your nightly routine can make a big difference.
"W e all have a certain amount of sleep that we have to get and anytime we deviate from the norm whether it be voluntarily because of work duties or school activities or could be because he can't get to sleep your body suffers," Dr. Knitter said.
D r. Knitter says that for some people simply fixing bad habits will help, but others with more severe disorders will have to stick with sleep in a bottle.