Ever wondered how regular medication might be interfering with your sleep?

From a certain age, medications become a fact of life. Regular prescriptions can involve a range of side-effects, but have

From a certain age, medications become a fact of life. Regular prescriptions can involve a range of side-effects, but have you ever considered the toll medication takes on your sleep?

These five types of medication can be seriously disruptive. Do you recognise anything from our list? Always consult with a doctor first, if you think this information may affect you.

1. Blood pressure tablets

Also known as alpha-blockers, medications that treat high blood pressure have been linked to a disturbance in REM sleep. REM is the deepest form of sleep, and is therefore very important for your nightly rejuvenation. Blood pressure tablets that contain ACE Inhibitors can also lead to a dry cough, which keeps many people awake at night.

Examples may include: Vasotec, Capoten and Monopril

2. Antidepressants

Medications that treat anxiety and depression are also known as beta-blockers. For reasons doctors don’t fully understand, antidepressants are often linked to nightmares. What’s worse, for almost 20% of patients, anti-depressants can lead to severe insomnia.

Examples may include: Zoloft, Lexapro and Prozac

3. Arthritis medications

Treatments for arthritis include corticosteroids, cortisone and prednisone. These medications impact your adrenal glands, which are responsible for your body’s ‘fight or flight’ response. As a result, arthritis medications can wreak havoc on your sleeping patterns.

Examples may include: Supplements incorporating glucosamine or chondroitin

4. Statins

Over 2.5 million Australians are prescribed statins to lower cholesterol, making this the most widely used medication in our country. However, statins will commonly inhibit muscle growth. This lack of muscular development often leads to ache and pains, which will invariably disturb your slumber.

Examples may include: Lipitor, Mevacor and Zocor

5. Antihistamines

Antihistamines are used to alleviate many allergic reactions – including nasal congestion, itchy skin and hives. Unfortunately, most antihistamines will suppress your central nervous system, which leads to drowsiness. Feeling drowsy (and then indulging in a nap or two) will invariably change your regular sleeping patterns.

Examples may include: Benadryl and Claritin

Have your sleeping patterns changed since taking regular medication? Share your experiences with us. 


  1. Nothing interfers with my sleep.
    Except of course the dog. She’s getting too old to jump up on the bed so when she goes out for a piddle in the middle of the night, she comes back in and stands up beside the bed and pats me on the head or whinges until I wake up and pick her up and put her on the bed.

    • Buy her some steps, we’ve got old dogs who can’t climb up on the bed anymore, check out realsmart.com.au I think that’s where I bought them. I just checked out their website and they are on special at the moment for $20.95

  2. Jean  

    I take both beta blockers and statins and have no sleep problems and no muscle ache problems. The info about statins tends to be exaggerated.

    From Harvard University website: About one in 10 people reports muscle pain and weakness after starting a statin. Like memory lapses, muscle aches are fairly common in middle age and beyond and may result from vigorous exercise, yard work, or even just a long session hunched over the computer. But in the absence of such an explanation, you might suspect the statin, especially if the muscle pain began within a few weeks of starting the statin and affects both sides of your body. Your doctor may recommend a lower dose or a different statin, which often resolves the problem.

  3. I find that lots of chocolate before bed results in bad dreams, indigestion and heartburn. Bugger.

  4. Not all of that is entirely correct information..
    Beta blockers are only used in some cases of anxiety or psychotic illness.
    It is used in heart failure to slow the heart beat and regulate irregular rhythms.
    Most antidepressants are SSRI , & tricyclic.
    Some antidepressants cause nightmares.
    Some cholesterol lowering meds can disrupt sleep too.

  5. I do have disturbed sleep patterns but can’t blame medication. It was happening before I started taking Lipitor and Arthritis medication. Has not gotten any worse so that is a blessing.

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