The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has raised concerns about the number of people who could be damaging their health by using sleeping pills. In a survey of 2,077 people, the society said it found that half of people with insomnia has diagnosed themselves and begun taking medication without seeking medical advice first. Nearly a third of those who have trouble sleeping had taken pills for more than a month without speaking to a health professional. Paul Johnson, community pharmacist at RPS, said: "It's worrying that so many people are over-using sleeping remedies. They can be effective for short-term treatment of mild insomnia but should not be taken for long periods without advice because they can hide a serious health problem which could get worse if it remains untreated." Although around one in 20 people were found to visit healthcare professionals with insomnia-related symptoms, around one in three overall suffer from insomnia at some time in their lives, meaning many people may not be getting the help they need. The NHS advises people who are struggling to get good bed rest to regulate their sleeping and rising hours, take 30 minutes of daily exercise and avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine before bedtime.