For most people, the best long-term strategy is to develop a strong, sustainable sleep routine that does not rely on prescription sleep medication. There's no question this takes work, but the rewards are worth it. Your sleep, your overall health -- and perhaps your memory -- will be better for it.
These last findings are particularly troubling, indicating that among the millions of people using sleep medications, there are many who are using multiple medications at once, putting them at greater risk for complications and adverse reactions.
The Dec. 9, 2013, issue of The New Yorker published a detailed but rather misguided article by Ian Parker, "The Big Sleep," about the complicated tangle of profit, science, and psychology in the search for better drugs to aid sleep.
There's more news about complications that can arise from prescription sleep medication: Side effects from a common prescription sleep aid are sending increasing numbers of people to emergency departments.