Can gabapentin make you sleepy? (3 activities to avoid) 

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In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “Can gabapentin make you sleepy?”. Gabapentin is a gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) analog and is used for a number of conditions. 

However, this medicine can cause a number of side effects including extreme drowsiness. This blog will also cover some ways to increase your energy levels during the day time. 

Can gabapentin make you sleepy?

Yes, gabapentin can make you sleepy and tired. It is one of the most commonly reported side effects of this medication. The reason behind this side effect of gabapentin is its mechanism of action. 

Gabapentin is a gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) analog, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Gabapentin mimics these inhibitory effects and reduces the neuronal firing in your brain and slows your entire system down. 

This inhibitory action calms your muscles down and starts inducing sleep. This is one of the most common reasons why gabapentin can lead to dependence and its abrupt withdrawal can lead to disturbing symptoms. 

This action of gabapentin is similar to benzodiazepines, which also acts on GABA. Both of these meds are used for epilepsy. 

What activities to avoid if you suffer from gabapentin induced sleepiness? 

Make sure you avoid certain activities when the use of gabapentin makes you feel sleepy or tired during the day time. These activities include:

Driving 

Do not drive when you’re feeling tired or drowsy. Driving requires your full physical and mental alertness and it’s in your best interest to avoid it when you’re tired and have low energy levels. If there’s somewhere you need to be, just ask a friend to drop you or book a ride. 

Driving without full mental alertness can cause accidents. It not only puts you in danger, but others around you as well. Make sure you stay out of trouble. 

Operating machinery 

If you’re an employee in some factory where you are supposed to operate heavy machinery, don’t! Your drowsiness might cause an accident and can make you or others around you severely injured. 

Drinking alcohol or taking any sedative

Make sure you’re not taking any other medication that might be contributing to your drowsiness. Do not drink alcohol, or you’ll end up dulling your senses even more. 

Alcohol itself is responsible for causing fatigue and drowsiness. It clouds your mind and messes up with your mental alertness and it would make a life threatening combination with gabapentin. 

Is there any way to increase your energy levels during the day time? 

There are a few tips that can help you increase your energy levels if gabapentin excessively makes you sleepy or tired during the day time. 

Sleep well

When you start taking your med at night/bedtime, make sure that it’s the last thing you do. Do not engage in any other activity after that. Just lie down and drift off to sleep. 

Centers for disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suggests following tips to make your sleep quality better than it is now. These include:

  • Try to go to bed at the same time every day, working days as well as weekends. 
  • Make sure your bedroom is always quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature to help you relax and make your sleep quality better.
  • Do not use electronic devices or gadgets before going to bed. They reduce your sleep quality. Make sure you remove such devices from your room or switch them off.
  • Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime. They will only ruin your sleep quality.
  • Stay active. Exercise can help relax your muscles and make your sleep quality better.

Increase your protein intake

Proteins are the building blocks of your body. It’s necessary to incorporate them in your diet. You can make scrambled eggs (maybe add a little cheese, because why not?), for breakfast. Other sources of protein include:

  • Lentils
  • Quinoa 
  • Nut
  • Fish
  • Chickpeas 
  • Green peas
  • Cottage cheese 
  • Tofu
  • Almond
  • Poultry
  • Beef
  • Soy protein 
  • Chia seeds
  • Milk 
  • Legumes 
  • Beans
  • Peanuts

Stay active

Staying active is the best way to fight against tiredness. Make sure you workout at least 3 to 4 times a week. Exercise releases happy chemicals in your brain. It not only makes you feel good, but also spikes your energy levels. 

Morning workout is considered most efficient in increasing your energy levels. Go for a walk or do 10 minutes of high intensity interval training (HITT). It not only helps you to overcome sleepiness caused by gabapentin, but it also makes your body healthy, like actually healthy. 

Some of the best exercises to increase energy levels include:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Tai Chi
  • Resistance strength training

Limit alcohol and caffeine 

Caffeine can affect your sleep by keeping you awake for a longer period of time and can compromise your alertness the next day. The Food and Drug Authority (FDA) recommends no more than 400 milligrams (about four or five cups of coffee) per day. 

In addition, caffeine’s half-life can range from 2-12 hours, so try to avoid drinking coffee or any other caffeinated beverage within six hours of bedtime. 

Stay hydrated 

Drink plenty of water. Water clears out toxins from your body. Try making a detox water by adding your favourite fruits in it. You can add lemon, cucumber, kiwi, oranges, berries, ginger etc, to make drinking water less boring. 

This will not only add taste, but also makes your water nutritious and full of antioxidants. 

Give your body time to adapt

It is impossible to predict how your body will react once it is exposed to gabapentin. Your body may take some time to adjust to the medication, after which these side effects will begin to subside. If something really disturbs you, seek medical help. Do not wait for it to go away on its own. 

Absorb and radiate positive energy 

Try to keep your mind on the positive side. Studies suggest happiness and positivity increase energy levels naturally. When your brain absorbs positivity, it releases energy. 

So, always surround yourself with people who deal with you positively, people who are supportive and fill you up with optimism and people who make you look at the brighter side. 

Make time for fun activities 

Always have time for fun activities. Engage in activities which make you feel alive. For some people, it’s simply spending quality time with their friends and family. 

You can watch a funny movie, change your hairstyle, change your routine, have a weekend away, go hiking, etc. Do not pack yourself up with work and daily life activities. Always have some time to take everything off of your shoulders. Trust me, it’s worth it! 

Make sure you are not using any other medication that might interact negatively with gabapentin or enhance its side effects. Drug interactions should be an important consideration before taking two or more medicines together. 

Yes, drugs in combination are often used to achieve better therapeutic response but this is not the case with every interaction. Some drugs are highly incompatible with one another. 

They often cancel out each other’s effects or antagonise them. Some drugs are so incompatible that they end up changing the entire chemical composition of one another. 

Some interfere with metabolism or bioavailability (the rate and extent at which the active drug moiety enters systemic circulation/blood). This can lead to drug accumulation in different parts of the body. 

It is always advised to inform your healthcare provider of any medicine you take before getting a new prescription. Your doctor will make sure not to prescribe any such drug which might interfere with those you are already taking. 

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have discussed gabapentin induced sleepiness. Gabapentin mimics the inhibitory effects of GABA and reduces the neuronal firing in your brain and slows your entire system down. This inhibitory action calms your muscles down and starts inducing sleep. 

This is one of the most common reasons why gabapentin can lead to dependence and its abrupt withdrawal can lead to disturbing symptoms. 

Make sure you are not using any other medication that might interact negatively with gabapentin or enhance its side effects. Drug interactions should be an important consideration before taking two or more medicines together. 

FAQs: gabapentin makes me sleepy 

Does gabapentin make you sleep a lot?

Yes, gabapentin can make you sleepy and tired. It is one of the most commonly reported side effects of this medication. The reason behind this side effect of gabapentin is its mechanism of action.

Does gabapentin have a sedating effect?

Yes, gabapentin has a sedating effect. Gabapentin mimics the inhibitory effects of GABA and reduces the neuronal firing in your brain and slows your entire system down. This inhibitory action calms your muscles down and starts inducing sleep. 

Does gabapentin make you tired or give you energy?

Gabapentin slows your system down because it mimics the effects of an inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, that reduces the neuronal firing in your brain and causes muscle relaxation. 

What should I avoid while taking gabapentin?

  • Narcotic analgesics: Both narcotic opioid analgesics and gabapentin decrease the amount of excitatory neurotransmitters in your brain. This can slow down your physiological functions including breathing rate. 
  • Alcohol can also act as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. The synergistic effects of alcohol and gabapentin can cause severe depression and suicidal behavior.
  • Certain diabetic agents may react with gabapentin and cause increased water retention, which results in swelling or edema in upper and lower extremities, or any other part of the body.

What does gabapentin do to a person?

Gabapentin is a gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) analog. Gabapentin mimics the actions of GABA, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. GABA works by inhibiting the excessive neuronal firing in the brain which reduces the frequency of epileptic seizures. 

Gabapentin is also used to reduce the intensity of neuropathic pain by inhibiting nociceptors (pain receptors). This medication is a prescription medication and should be taken only at doses determined by your healthcare professional. 

What is the most common side effect of gabapentin?

The most common side effects of gabapentin include:

  • Xerostomia or dry mouth 
  • Weight gain 
  • Dizziness 
  • Somnolence
  • Swollen hands and feet
  • Headache
  • Vision problems 
  • Cloudy mind
  • Fatigue
  • Tremors 
  • Confusion
  • Joint pain 

References 

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