Is Your Medication Making You Lose Sleep
Certain medications can upset your normal sleep patterns. Switching medications or lowering doses under your doctor’s supervision can often fix the problem.
If you rely on medications for a chronic condition or even minor ailments, you may find yourself sleep-deprived or battling daytime drowsiness.
Certain heart, blood pressure, and asthma drugs, as well as over-the-counter medicines for colds, allergies, and headaches, can interrupt normal sleep patterns, says James Wellman, MD, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Georgia in Augusta.
In fact, a number of common medications can prevent you from falling asleep or staying asleep others can make you groggy or sleepy during the day. Chemicals work differently on everyone, so a given medication may not affect you and your best friend the same way, but the following drugs could cause sleep problems for most people.
How To Improve Your Sleep
To help you get the right amount of high-quality sleep each night:
- Set daily times to go to bed and wake up.
- Plan to sleep at least 7 but no longer than 8 hours per night.
- Donât get less sleep on weeknights then try to catch up on weekends.
- Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet. If it helps, turn on a fan, install light-blocking curtains or shades, and use earplugs.
- Read a book or take a bubble bath to relax before bedtime.
- Donât leave your smartphone next to your bed. You may be tempted to pick it up and scan your email or social media.
- Donât go to bed hungry or too soon after youâve eaten a heavy meal.
- Cut back on alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine products that can ruin sleep.
- Before bed, ease stress and muscle tension with gentle stretches.
- If youâre stressed about the next day, write in a journal or fill out your to-do list, then put it in the nightstand drawer. You can tackle it the next day.
What about sleeping pills? Medications can help you get rest during a stressful period or when travel upsets your regular schedule. But for the long term, healthy habits are the best way to promote a good nightâs sleep. But if you often have trouble sleeping, see your doctor. They can examine you to find out the causes of your problems. They may prescribe medication to help you get the rest you need.
When To See Your Doctor
Check in with your doctor whenever you have concerns about your general health. If you have any of the risk factors for high cholesterol, a quick blood test can reveal a lot and allow your doctor to take action. Sometimes lifestyles changes are enough to whip your numbers back into shape. Your doctor can also prescribe statin drugs to lower your cholesterol if necessary.
Trouble sleeping is another issue you may want to bring to your healthcare providers attention. Even an additional hour of sleep each night can shift your numbers, so try to head to bed a bit earlier tonight. Relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation are great for unwinding before bedtime. If these home methods dont help, your doctor can point you in the right direction or possibly prescribe medication.
Effect Of Statin Therapy On Polysomnography Findings
The impact of statin therapy on PSG indices of sleep was reported in 9 treatment arms. Overall, statin therapy had no significant effect on total sleep duration , sleep efficiency , entries to stage I or latency to stage I . These effect sizes were robust, and iteratively removing each study from the meta-analysis did not change the significance of the results . In contrast, statin therapy significantly reduced wake time and number of awakenings . These effect sizes were not sensitive to any single trial, apart from the sensitivity of pooled effect size for the wake time to the study by Kamei et al. .
Some Medicines Cause Insomnia:
Amphetamines are an easy target. But many other medicine cause insomnia. Here is just one example:
Q. When I was working, I got up at 6 am to leave for work at 7 and went to bed around 11:30 pm. Now that Im retired, I have gotten used to going to bed later and waking up later, but thats getting out of hand. I now rise between 9 and 11 am or sometimes even later, since I dont get to sleep until 2 or 3 am. Id like to get out of this vicious cycle.
I was on trazadone for a while but still had trouble falling asleep. Then I was drowsy the next day unless I had several cups of coffee. How can I fix my current dilemma without taking sleeping pills?
I take glipizide for type 2 diabetes, Lasix and lisinopril for high blood pressure, simvastatin for high cholesterol and gabapentin for spinal stenosis pain. I also take oxybutynin for overactive bladder, so I dont want to add more meds.
A. Some of your medications may be contributing to your sleeping problems. Please ask your doctor to check oxybutynin and simvastatin.
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What To Do If You Suspect Your Medications Are Causing Insomnia
First things first: never stop taking a medication without first asking the prescribing physician about doing so. Some medications cannot be stopped without tapering off safely, and you could do more harm than good.
Doctors generally have a list of medications they routinely prescribe for certain conditions which includes alternatives for those who do not respond to their first choices.
It should not be a problem to tell your doctor you suspect your medication is keeping you awake at night and ask for an alternative prescription.
When you receive new medications, make sure you read all the labels and packaging information provided to you by the pharmacy. You can also take labeled medications to your local pharmacist to ask them if insomnia or fragmented sleep is a common side effect.
The United States Food and Drug Administration also curates a drug website you can search for information about any given prescription . If you believe you are experiencing sleep problems previously documented as side effects fora medication youre taking, you can also report your experience at their MedWatch drug safety database.
AARP Mayo Clinic
Tips For Better Sleep
There are also some strategies you can take on your own to promote better sleep. Here are a few you can try, starting today:
Establish a bedtime routine: Turn off bright screens and any sources of blue light , keep your room dim or dark, and engage in a calming activity like a bath, shower, or meditation.
Avoid physical activity several hours before bedtime: Getting your heart rate up throughout the day is a great way to stay healthy and promote more sound sleep. But if you exercise too close to bedtime, your body may not have enough time to settle, which can cause trouble falling asleep.
Avoid caffeine late in the day: Save your coffee and tea breaks for the morning and early afternoon. Caffeine too late in the evening can disrupt your sleep. If you enjoy warm tea to relax before bed, try a caffeine-free option like chamomile or lavender.
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How Common Is Insomnia With Stimulant Medications
A review in the journal Neurotherapeutics was quite clear:
Insomnia or delayed SOL greater than 30 minutes is one of the most common adverse events associated with stimulant medications.
If you check out the official prescribing information for Adderall XR you discover that in one clinical trial 27% of adults reported insomnia as a side effect of the drug. Interestingly, the official prescribing information for Vyvanse also reports an incidence of insomnia of 27% associated with this stimulant medication.
One would hope that a health professional would mention a common side effect such as trouble sleeping when prescribing a stimulant medication.
Dangers Of Statin Drugs: What You Havent Been Told About Popular Cholesterol
Hypercholesterolemia is the health issue of the 21st century. It is actually an invented disease, a problem that emerged when health professionals learned how to measure cholesterol levels in the blood. High cholesterol exhibits no outward signsunlike other conditions of the blood, such as diabetes or anemia, diseases that manifest telltale symptoms like thirst or weaknesshypercholesterolemia requires the services of a physician to detect its presence. Many people who feel perfectly healthy suffer from high cholesterolin fact, feeling good is actually a symptom of high cholesterol!
Doctors who treat this new disease must first convince their patients that they are sick and need to take one or more expensive drugs for the rest of their lives, drugs that require regular checkups and blood tests. But such doctors do not work in a vacuumtheir efforts to convert healthy people into patients are bolstered by the full weight of the US government, the media and the medical establishment, agencies that have worked in concert to disseminate the cholesterol dogma and convince the population that high cholesterol is the forerunner of heart disease and possibly other diseases as well.
The drugs that doctors use to treat the new disease are called statinssold under a variety of names including Lipitor , Zocor , Mevacor and Pravachol .
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Simvastatin But Not Pravastatin Associated With Sleep Impairment
Another reason why patients might stop taking lipid-lowering therapy may be sleep disturbance, which has been associated with statins. The results of the largest randomized clinical trial to date of the effects of statins on sleep appear to corroborate previous evidence suggesting that lipophilic statins may affect sleep in some individuals. Presenting her findings at the 2007 AHA meeting, lead investigator Beatrice A. Golomb, MD, PhD , stressed the importance of sleep to health , function , mood , well-being , and safety . She explained that lipophilic statins, such as lovastatin and simvastatin, have been implicated in sleep disturbance in a range of studies.
Case reports and series have suggested possible effects of statins on sleep in some subjects and insomnia has been reported as an adverse effect in clinical trials of statins. Most randomized studies that directly evaluated the impact of statins on sleep, however, found no effect, and only 1 showed a significant difference between sleep patterns in subjects on simvastatin or pravastatin, although neither statin differed from placebo. Since most of these studies used a small sample size and were of short duration , the question of whether statins on average affect sleep favorably or adversely remained unclear.
Cite this: Why Patients Stop Taking Statins and What Can Be Done About It – Medscape – Feb 14, 2008.
Risk Of Bias Assessment
A systematic assessment of bias in the included studies was carried out using the Cochrane criteria . The items used for the assessment of each study were as follows: adequacy of sequence generation, allocation concealment, blinding, addressing of dropouts , selective outcome reporting, and other potential sources of bias. According to the recommendations of the Cochrane Handbook, a judgment of yes indicated low risk of bias, while no indicated high risk of bias. Labeling an item as unclear indicated an unclear or unknown risk of bias .
What Foods Should Be Avoided When Taking Statins
While taking atorvastatin , avoid high-fat and high-cholesterol foods as part of your overall treatment. You should avoid large quantities of grapefruit or grapefruit juice, which can increase the risk of serious side effects. Also, avoid excess alcohol use, as this may cause serious liver problems.
Cholesterol Drug May Affect Sleep
Study Shows Some Users of Zocor Report a Poorer Quality of Sleep
In a new study, those who took the statin drug Zocor reported they had a significantly worse quality of sleep than those who took a placebo or Pravachol, another statin drug, says researcher Beatrice Golomb, MD, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego.
“Problems with sleep initiation, problems with sleep maintenance, a feeling that sleep was unrestful, and napping during the day — none of those actually were what was going on,” Golomb tells WebMD.
So what’s left?
Maybe nightmares, something related to sleep-disordered breathing, or some as yet unexplored problem, Golomb says.
“Although the average effect on sleep was detrimental on Zocor, this does not mean that everyone on Zocor will experience worse sleep,” she says.
They were randomly assigned to Zocor, Pravachol, or a placebo for six months. Participants rated “sleep quality” and “sleep problems” on two standardized sleep scales.
Insomnia is listed as a possible side effect on the labeling of all statin drugs.
The National Institutes of Health funded the study.
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Do Statins Reduce Belly Fat
Statins may improve gut microbiota and help shed weight in obese individuals, finds a new study. The MetaCardis investigators have explored gut bacteria in almost 900 individuals from Denmark, France and observed that obesity-associated microbiota dysbiosis is negatively associated with statin treatment.
How To Improve Bad Cholesterol Levels
There are other ways other than improving sleep that can help with cholesterol levels. Some of them include:
- Eating less sodium-rich and saturated fat food but focusing on omega-3 fatty acids rich foods, lean protein, vitamin B12 and more soluble fiber.
- Reducing smoking or quitting it.
- Losing excess weight. A study found that losing between 5 and 10% of your weight contributed to better cholesterol levels.
- Abstinence from alcohol.
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What Should You Do If Your Medications Are Causing Insomnia
Sleep is important to your health, so insomnia that doesnt go away isnt something to overlook.
If you think your medications are causing insomnia, you should talk to your healthcare provider about it. They may:
Recommend an alternative medication
Recommend a supplement like melatonin to help promote sleep
Prescribe a stronger medication to help you sleep
Sleep Apnea And High Cholesterol
The same study from above found that frequent snorers suffered from the HDL cholesterol decay. The study displays connection between high cholesterol and snoring, which means that sleep apnea patients who snore and gasp for air may be more prone to high LDL cholesterol and serious cardiovascular issues.
There is another study that found connection between sleep apnea and high cholesterol.
Without treatment and CPAP machine, sleep apnea patients have difficulties sleeping without waking up, leading to ultimately poorer sleep quality and high overall cholesterol.
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Statins Could Be A Nightmare For Those Suffering From Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea sounds innocent enough. But if you or your spouse suffers from it, you know it can be downright terrifying. Waking up choking, gasping for air and with your heart racing can leave you feeling like youre fighting for your life.
So, for those of you tired of lugging that bulky CPAP mask to bed with you, some insane researchers are touting a new treatment youre not going to believe.
Scientists from Columbia University are claiming that popping cholesterol-lowering statins may help end your sleep misery for good.
But theres one big catch that nobody is talking about.
Sleeping with the enemy
Sleep apnea doesnt just leave you feeling exhausted all the time. It also ups your risk of high blood pressure, A-fib, heart failure and even diabetes.
And thats why I cant understand why any scientist in his right mind would push statins drugs that have been proven to cause many of these conditions on people with sleep apnea.
But, believe it or not, thats where we are. Because when I told you the mainstream would stop at nothing to force statins on every man, woman and child, I wasnt kidding.
Columbia scientists just wrapped up a lab study where they found that statins may block some of the cellular processes that can contribute to sleep apnea.
And let me make sure you got that this was a test tube study without a single human patient. But youd better believe thats not going to stop doctors from prescribing statins off-label for sleep apnea right away.
Muscle Pain And Weakness
The most common side effect is muscle pain and weakness, a condition called rhabdomyolysis, most likely due to the depletion of Co-Q10, a nutrient that supports muscle function. Dr. Beatrice Golomb of San Diego, California is currently conducting a series of studies on statin side effects. The industry insists that only 2-3 percent of patients get muscle aches and cramps but in one study, Golomb found that 98 percent of patients taking Lipitor and one-third of the patients taking Mevachor suffered from muscle problems.4 A message board devoted to Lipitor at forum.ditonline.com contained more than 800 posts, many detailing severe side effects. The Lipitor board at www.rxlist.com contains more than 2,600 posts .
The test for muscle wasting or rhabdomyolysis is elevated levels of a chemical called creatine kinase . But many people experience pain and fatigue even though they have normal CK levels.5
John Altrocchi took Mevacor for three years without side effects then he developed calf pain so severe he could hardly walk. He also experienced episodes of temporary memory loss.
Active people are much more likely to develop problems from statin use than those who are sedentary. In a study carried out in Austria, only six out of 22 athletes with familial hypercholesterolemia were able to endure statin treatment.9 The others discontinued treatment because of muscle pain.
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