OTC sleep aids get boost from boomers

NEW YORK The market for OTC sleep aids is thriving, thanks in large part to baby boomers, according to a recent research report.

A new report by market research publisher Packaged Facts estimates that the total OTC market for sleep aids alone reached $604 million in 2008, an increase of 9 percent compared with $533 million in 2007. The increase was on par with the 8 percent compound annual growth rate that OTC sleep aids experienced between 2004 and 2008.

Both short-term and long-term success of the market is tied to aging baby boomers, a high-income populace less likely to feel the economic crunch as strongly as consumers with more moderate levels of income, the report states.

Furthermore, women of the baby boomer generation tend to face unique sleep challenges. As women age, more than half entering their menopausal transition years can expect to experience various primary sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, snoring, restless legs syndrome or insomnia.

"Sleep disorders are under-diagnosed in menopausal women, and many experts now recommend special consideration when diagnosing and treating their sleep problems," stated Tatjana Meerman, publisher of Packaged Facts.

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