According to Sleepmed, 20% to 40% of all adults have insomnia during some point in the year while one in three people will suffer with insomnia at some point during their lifetime. Furthermore, over 70 million Americans struggle with sleep disorders and wakefulness. If you’re struggling with sleep problems, it could be due to poor sleep hygiene, chronic pain, or even medications. some other factor. Certain medications can cause sleep problems, and if you’re already struggling with sleep problems, they may make the problem worse. Not only can sleep problems make you feel tired and dragged out, quality sleep is crucial to health. The lack of sleep can cause an increased risk of obesity, heart problems, diabetes, accidents, and more. The following list contains both prescription and over-the-medication that are known to cause sleep problems.
Prescription Medications that Affect Sleep
Anti-arrhythmic medications – These medications can cause insomnia and daytime fatigue. The names of some anti-arrhythmic medications are procainamide (Procanbid), quinidine (Cardioquin), and disopyraminde (Norpace).
Blood pressure medications – A cause of stress, short-term sleep deprivation can increase your risk for high blood pressure. According to a study at the University of Columbia in Chicago, sleeping less than five hours a night significantly raises your risk for high blood pressure. In light of this, can you imagine the effect of poor sleep if you already have high blood pressure. Unfortunately, some doctors don’t even bother to consider the side-effects of medications on pre-existing medical conditions. Consequently, if you suffer from sleep problems and high blood pressure, your doctor could be making your problems worse by prescribing inappropriate medications. Beta blockers, used to treat high blood pressure, heart rhythm problems and angina, can cause insomnia, nighttime awakenings, and nightmares. Atenolol (Tenormin), metaprolol (Lopressor), and propranolol (Inderal) are common beta blockers. Clonidine is another medication that is used to treat high blood pressure that can cause a host of sleep disorders including daytime drowsiness, disrupted REM sleep, restlessness, early morning awakenings, and nightmares. In addition to these high blood pressure medications, diuretics are commonly used to treat high blood pressure. Although the side-effects are not as bad as other high blood pressure medications, the side-effects can include increased nighttime urination and nighttime calf cramps.
Statins – Some cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) are also linked to poor sleep and can cause insomnia and nightmares. However, the supplement coenzyme Q10 may prevent these side effects in some people.
Asthma Medications – Theophylline is used to treat inflammation and open airways. Related to caffeine, the ingredients in this medication can cause insomnia and daytime jitters.
Antidpressants- A class medications called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), commonly used to treat depression and seasonal affective disorder, can cause insomnia, decreased REM sleep, and daytime fatigue. Some of the names of these medications are: fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and paroxetine (Paxil).
Anti-smoking Medications – Some of these medications, especially the patches, may contain small amounts of nicotine. Nicotine is a known stimulate that can cause insomnia.
ADHD Medications – Medications with stimulants are used to treat ADHD. The associated stimulants not only can cause insomnia, but they can affect the amount of time spent in REM sleep. Some examples of these type of medications are Ritalin and Dexetrine.
Thyroid Medications – At higher doses, thyroid medications can cause insomnia.
Over-the-Counter Medications that May Affect Sleep
Cold and allergy medications – Cold and allergy medications commonly contain anti-histamines. Anti-histamines can cause drowsiness even after six to eight hours of taking them. Another common ingredient, decongestants, can cause insomnia. If they contain alcohol, it can prevent deep REM sleep and leads to frequent awakenings throughout the night.
Pain-relief medications – Some pain medications contain caffeine. A known stimulant, caffeine can still affect you six to eight hours after taking it. Excedrin, Anacin, and Motrin all contain caffeine
Herbal medications- St. John’s Wort and Sam-e, used for depression, can cause insomnia as well as Ginseng.
If you’re experiencing problems sleeping, it could be due to your medications. Set up an appointment with your doctor, and he or she may be able to prescribe an alternative medication.