Is Your Medication Stopping You from Sleeping?

Statin Medication

As people get older, they seem to acquire more money, larger waistlines and more health conditions…

Sadly with health conditions, rather than fixing the root cause of the problem, people often go for the easy option, the quick fix, and the doctors certainly facilitate you in that easy option.

Opting for quick fix medications to mask your underlying health issues, you may find yourself prescribed medicines that you think are good for you are causing you more harm than good.

I am no pharmacist or doctor, so please speak with your health care provider; however, I will outline very popular medications that you may be taking that are known to interfere with great sleep.

In light of this, I have put together the top 7 forms of medication that could be disrupting your sleep. A few types of medication that I haven’t covered due to the articles getting way too long are ACE Inhibitors, ARBs and Glucosamine.


The Top 7 Medications That Cause Insomnia

  1. Statins.
  2. Beta-blockers.
  3. Alpha-blockers.
  4. Antidepressants.
  5. Cholinesterase inhibitors.
  6. Corticosteroids
  7. Antihistamines.


A very popular prescription drug used to treat those with high cholesterol.

They cause insomnia and sleep interruption due to their most common side effect of muscle pain, which can keep you awake and stimulated at night.

Types of statins include:

  1. Lovastatin.
  2. Atorvastatin.
  3. Rosuvastatin.
  4. Simvastatin.

Typical brand names include:

  1. Mevacor
  2. Lipitor
  3. Crestor
  4. Zocor

By far the most common complaint related to sleep from statins involves muscle pain. These can keep those on statins awake at night, the duration varies from person to person, and therefore, the resultant impact on one’s sleep varies.

The worst offenders seem to be Mevacor, Lipitor, Zocor and Vytorin. These are all fat-soluble statins. These statins affect your sleep more because they can penetrate cell membranes easier, penetrating the blood/brain barrier, which protects your brain from unwelcome chemicals in the blood.

Speak with your doctor about healthy lifestyle alternatives for those who are taking these from a prevention i.e. slightly higher cholesterol levels as opposed to having heart disease.

Ironically, one of the best things for your health is…sleep! Go figure…


Beta Blockers

They are typically prescribed for those with high blood pressure (hypertension) And abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias).

They both lower your blood pressure and slow your heart rate by blocking your adrenaline hormone.

Beta-blockers are also used to treat tremors, migraines and angina.

Types of beta blockers include:

  1. Timolol.
  2. Sotalol.
  3. Propranolol.
  4. Metoprolol.
  5. Carvedilol.
  6. Atenolol.

Typical brand names include:

  1. Timoptic.
  2. Betapace.
  3. Inderal.
  4. Lopressor.
  5. Coreg.
  6. Tenormin.

The best bit about beta blockers is that they give you nightmares! Thank you doctor…

Don’t think the fun doesn’t stop there either, as they are well known for awaking users by inhibiting the nighttime secretion of one of our most important hormones for great health, melatonin. I can’t say enough how important this hormone is to a long and happy life.


Alpha Blockers

These are typically prescribed for various health conditions, with high blood pressure and Raynaud’s disease being the most popular uses for them.

They help keep small blood vessels open and relax muscles. Alpha-blockers do this by reducing the effects of the hormone norepinephrine (sometimes called noradrenaline), which tightens the muscles in the walls of smaller arteries and veins. In turn, improves blood flow and lowers your blood pressure.

They are also sometimes used to help with urine flow for men with an enlarged prostate for the same reasons as relaxing muscles.

Types of alpha blockers include:

  1. Alfuzosin.
  2. Doxazosin.
  3. Prazosin.
  4. Silodosin.
  5. Terazosin.
  6. Tamsulosin.

Typical brand names include:

  1. Uroxatral.
  2. Cardura.
  3. Minipress.
  4. Rapaflo.
  5. Hytrin.
  6. Flomax.

Alpha-blockers decrease your REM (when you dream), a fundamental part of your daily sleep requirements. REM and deep sleep drop with age as it is, so you certainly don’t need anything helping to worsen this key aspect of life.



Or SSRIs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These are prescribed to those with mild forms of depression.

Antidepressants block the reabsorption of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain. Blocking the reabsorption of serotonin makes more available to the brain.

As a side note, I personally take 5 HTP, a protein that naturally helps boost my serotonin to enhance my mood and help boost my sleep, plus serotonin is required to produce melatonin, the most essential hormone for sleep. 

Types of antidepressants include:

  1. Fluoxetine.
  2. Sertraline.
  3. Citalopram.
  4. Escitalopram.
  5. Fluvoxamine.
  6. Paroxetine.

Typical brand names include:

  1. Prozac.
  2. Sarafem.
  3. Zoloft.
  4. Celexa.
  5. Lexapro.
  6. Luvox.
  7. Paxil.

We don’t quite know how antidepressants work, which makes this tough to answer why it affects sleep; however, the facts show it does. We just don’t know how. 

Sleep issues stem from mild tremors and agitation, with some people reporting insomnia.

Again super ironic is the very thing critical for depression, and, generally feeling great, is sleep.

Yet the things prescribed to help depression is ironically stopping the very best thing to help with it. Go figure…


Cholinesterase Inhibitors

These are prescribed to treat those with forms of memory loss and mental changes for those individuals suffering from dementia.

Types of cholinesterase inhibitors include:

  1. Rivastigmine.
  2. Galantamine.
  3. Donepezil.

Typical brand names include:

  1. Exelon.
  2. Razadyne.
  3. Aricept.

Aside from feeling sick and making you run to the bathroom to avoid soiling your underwear with diarrhoea, they, of course, obstruct a good night’s rest. Other side effects include muscle spasms and cramps, which will keep you awake at night.

By blocking the breakdown of acetylcholine, you interfere with a neurotransmitter that is everywhere in the body and, surprisingly, not just in the brain by being a neurotransmitter.

Acetylcholine is critical for your memory, thought, alertness and judgement. The theory of how these drug works is by inhibiting the enzyme that breaks acetylcholine down, you boost the amount available to the brain.



These have a wide range of uses, however, the common denominator is to treat forms of inflammation, so they are used to treat arthritis, gout and lupus.

Types of corticosteroids include:

  1. Triamcinolone.
  2. Prednisone.
  3. Methylprednisolone.
  4. Cortisone.

Typical brand names include:

  1. Deltasone.
  2. Sterapred.
  3. Medrol.

Corticosteroids play havoc with your adrenal glands, which, as we all know, are responsible for managing your fight or flight response. Too much stress will keep you alert and cannot relax and sleep at night. Other side effects would include nightmares if you thought its side effect wasn’t bad enough already!



Typically these are prescribed to help with allergic reactions and are also called nonsedating H1 antagonists. Original antihistamines would cause intense drowsiness due to their powerful suppression effects on the central nervous system.

They work by inhibiting the body’s production of histamine. A chemical released when you have an allergic reaction to something. Hay fever is an excellent example with the resultant symptoms including running nose, watery eyes, blocked nose, sneezing and itching.

Types of antihistamines include:

  1. Azelastine.
  2. Cetirizine.
  3. Desloratadine.
  4. Fexofenadine.
  5. Levocetirizine.
  6. Loratadine.

Typical brand names include:

  1. Astelin.
  2. Zyrtec.
  3. Clarinex.
  4. Allegra.
  5. Xyzal.
  6. Claritin.

We have already covered one type of drug that blocks acetylcholine, cholinesterase inhibitors. You can expect a similar experience. However, as they typically only last for around 8 hours within your body, simply taking them in the morning can quickly resolve their sleep-destroying properties.


Speak With Your Pharmacist or Doctor if You are Getting Side Effects of Insomnia…

Ultimately this article is to give you an awareness that your insomnia and other problems with sleep can, in fact, be attributed to the medications you are taking.

Of course, for a lot of you who are not taking any medications, then this is not relevant; however, for those who are, then I would recommend one of the first ports of call would be to establish with your doctor if there are better alternatives?

Then look at the general core principles of good health, such as diet, exercise and reducing stress, to see if simply by living better, you can remove these medications from your life once and for all.

When writing this article, I had tears in my eyes, as it served as a huge reminder of the false trust, we place in doctors who we sadly think are acting in our best interests.

A lot of it is that doctors have been taught this in med school and really believe it’s the best thing for you, through no fault of their own, simply by having faith in what they have been taught. This makes it sadder, as these doctors do want to help, just for many of them, they don’t know how.

Your health is your responsibility. You cannot outsource overall responsibility to anyone.

Though you will need, at times, expert advice and guidance, ultimately, you need to be aware of what anything you put into your body will do and how it will affect you now and in the long term.


How Ralph Can Help You Sleep Even Better?


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