A high percentage of the adult population use sleeping pills on a regular basis, many reports have been conducted into how much of their effect is contributed to the placebo effect rather than the actual chemicals within the drugs. A recent major study from 13 clinical trials of the most popular sleeping pills has shown that 50% is due to the placebo effect. The research also suggested that the benefits of them may not justify the associated side effects including memory loss, fatigue and impaired balance.
It has caused controversy over previous trials that have been sponsored by pharmaceutical companies - this new research has brought out questions of their validity. The research was conducted using over 4000 participants and published in the British Medical Journal. The drugs are frequently handed out as a treatment for short term insomnia, it is thought that around 30% of people in the UK have bouts of insomnia and it can be caused by many different underlying factors such as stress and physical conditions.
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