Thursday, December 23, 2010

Medications that Affect Sleep

Everyone has an occasional sleepless night due to stress, acid reflux or too much caffeine or alcohol. Did you know that certain medications can disrupt your normal sleep patterns? Changing your medication, lowering your dose or taking your medication in the morning instead of at night can often help you fall asleep easy. If you have a chronic condition and rely on medications, be aware the there are medications that affect sleep such as blood pressure and asthma drugs as well as over-the-counter medications for colds, allergies and headaches. Make sure you discuss your sleep problems with your doctor to discuss changing your dose or medication. Many common medications can prevent you from falling asleep, staying asleep or make you groggy during the day. Drugs work differently on everyone as one medication may affect you but not someone else. The following drugs cause sleep problems for most people.

[caption id="attachment_749" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Medications that Affect Sleep - Causes Insomnia"][/caption]

If you are taking an anti-arrhythmic drug to treat a heart rhythm problem it can cause insomnia. Beta blockers for high blood pressure, arrhythmias or angina can cause you to wake up at night and increase the chance of insomnia or nightmares. Statins used for lowering cholesterol have been known to cause nightmares and insomnia. Coenzyme Q10 supplements may help to prevent statin side effects in some people. If you'd like to try adding coenzyme Q10 to your treatment, talk to your doctor first to make sure the supplement won't interact with any of your other medications or health issues.

Some asthma medications, like Theophylline can cause insomnia as well as a sense of nervousness and panic during the day. Prednisone, a corticosteroid, which is often prescribed for asthma can cause insomnia. . More on prednisone and insomnia see: Prednisone Insomnia.

Insomnia is one of the common side effects of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, like Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil. Nicotine patches that help people quit smoking deliver small doses of nicotine into the bloodstream 24 hours a day have reported to cause insomnia and in some cases nightmares.

If you have adult ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) and treated with a stimulant-like medication to boost attentiveness you may have trouble falling asleep. ADHD medications such as Ritalin and Dexedrine alter REM sleep which is the stage of sleep accompanied by rapid eye movement and deep sleep. NREM you sleep more lightly and more susceptible to night time awakenings. An underactive thyroid can cause extreme sleepiness during the day, but some thyroid drugs can result in insomnia.

Over-the-counter medications (OTC) can affect sleep like those to treat colds and allergies. While antihistamines can cause drowsiness up to eight hours, decongestants have the opposite effect, causing insomnia. Cough medicine that contain alcohol can prevent deep REM sleep which will cause you to wake up during the night.

[caption id="attachment_750" align="alignright" width="297" caption="Medications that Affect Sleep - Causes Nightmares"][/caption]

Some painkillers like aspirin contain caffeine which will make it hard for you to fall asleep at night. Excedrin, Anacin and Motrin contain caffeine, but not all pain relievers do. Check labels before purchasing. Herbal medications that are used for other health issues can disturb sleep patterns because they stimulate the brain just like caffeine. Chinese ginseng and St. John’s wort have been reported to cause sleep problems.

Restful sleep is important for your health, so you don’t need to lose sleep from medication side effects. Changing medication, changing the time of day you take your medication or lowering your dose may be the perfect prescription for a good night’s sleep.

The content in Medicines that Affect Sleep is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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