Can Propranolol cause insomnia? (5 things to avoid if that happens)

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In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “Can Propranolol cause insomnia?”. Propranolol is one of the most commonly prescribed medications to manage high blood pressure and heart rate. 

However, it can cause a number of side effects, one of which include insomnia. This blog will cover why Propranolol causes sleep disturbances and what could be done to keep insomnia at bay. 

Can Propranolol cause insomnia?

Yes, Propranolol can cause insomnia or inability to fall asleep in some individuals. Several surveys have revealed that people have suffered from sleep disturbances, to some extent, after long term use of Propranolol. 

However, some people have claimed that they have never suffered from any kind of sleep disturbance while being treated with Propranolol. This indicates that this medication can cause insomnia, but not in every single individual taking it. 

Make sure you closely monitor these side effects and inform your healthcare provider in order to determine the safe and effective use of Propranolol in the long run.

What data do we have from research studies? 

Several research studies have investigated the effects of Propranolol on sleep patterns. One study concluded that Propranolol can affect the levels of melatonin in your body, which is an important chemical to regulate sleep cycle.

Melatonin basically has receptors in our eyes which detect light in order to prepare our brain for sleep. When the morning comes, these receptors send signals to our brains that it is time to be alert and productive, as our bodies are designed to work during the daytime. 

As the evening comes, these receptors detect the light toning down and send signals to the brain to start preparing your body for sleep. This way the entire sleep cycle works. Now you can imagine how it would be disturbed when the amount of melatonin is diminished. 

This is what happens when you take Propranolol. However, there is still more research necessary to determine the exact effects of Propranolol on your sleep cycle. 

Several research studies have also conducted trials to make sure if this is actually the case or just a myth. They divided the test participants into two groups, the control group which received placebo and the test group which received Propranolol. 

After the course of the trial, it was observed that people who were included in the test group found it difficult to fall asleep peacefully as compared to the people who were receiving placebo. However, not all people showed this kind of sleep disturbance. 

Some people continued to have their normal sleep pattern and they showed no signs of insomnia. This confirmed that Propranolol can cause insomnia or inability to fall asleep, but not in every single individual taking this medication. It can also affect sleep patterns in elderly people.

What to avoid when you’re suffering from Propranolol induced insomnia? 

There are a few things that you should avoid if you wish not to exacerbate your insomnia or inability to fall asleep. These include:

Do not take Propranolol at bedtime

As we have just discussed, Propranolol does not cause insomnia or sleep disturbances in every other individual. However, if you’re one of the unlucky ones and you do find it difficult to fall asleep after taking Propranolol, make sure you don’t take it at bedtime. 

If you take this medication at night, you will suffer from the maximum effects of insomnia as the concentration of the drug will be at its peak at the time you’ll be trying to fall asleep. This is why you should take your Propranolol early in the morning or right after you wake up. 

This way, the side effect will start to tone down and as the night time comes, it will be at its lowest and you will not find it difficult to fall asleep. One thing to bear in mind is that this trick does not guarantee no insomnia. 

You may still suffer from it and may not be able to fall asleep that you normally did before you started taking Propranolol, but the side effect will not be too intense. 

Do not eat heavy meals before going to bed

Eating heavy meals before bedtime can make it even more difficult for you to fall asleep. Make sure you eat at least 3 to 4 hours before bedtime and your stomach should be empty when you get to bed. 

When your stomach is full, your body keeps on working to digest all that food and you’re not fully ‘rested’. Lying down in bed to sleep can further delay the process of digestion. 

This is exactly why you might have heard your mother or grandmother telling you not to lie down right after eating your meals. 

Do not use smart gadgets 

Smart phones and laptops are most commonly used at bedtime and people are not even aware of the fact that these smart gadgets are your biggest enemies when it comes to falling asleep peacefully at night. 

As we have just discussed about melatonin and its receptors in your eyes, smart gadgets can mess up with the entire functioning of these receptors. As I have told you previously, melatonin receptors detect light to prepare your body to fall asleep or to wake up. 

When you use smart gadgets, the light emitting from them can be misjudged as sunlight by your melatonin receptors and instead of making you sleepy, they send signals to your brain to increase your alertness. 

This can completely throw your entire sleep pattern off and you will stay awake most of the night. Make sure you don’t use these gadgets once you lie down to fall asleep. 

Do not drink coffee before bedtime

Coffee, as we all know, is a stimulant. The active ingredient present in it, called caffeine, is what wakes us up in the morning. It is actually classified as a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. 

It has a half life of about 6 hours, but it can stay active in some people for much longer than that. This is exactly why it is not recommended to drink coffee after 3-4pm. If you do so, you will find it extremely difficult to fall asleep as your alert mind will not let you feel relaxed. 

Do not do vigorous exercise before bedtime

It is absolutely okay to do some yoga or stretching to relax your muscles before you go to bed, but it is not recommended to do vigorous exercise before bedtime. This is because high intensity workouts can increase your energy levels and release excitatory chemicals in your brain. 

These combined effects will not let you sleep anytime soon. Instead of doing this, try to read a few pages of your favourite book, drink some chamomile tea and try to relax. 

Is there anything natural that can help you sleep? 

There are some foods and herbs that can help you fall asleep. These include:

  • Chamomile is well known for its relaxing properties. Studies suggest that chamomile possesses natural antidepressant and antianxiety properties and can help stabilise your mood. 
  • Lavender is a herb which is well known for its relaxing and calming fragrance. Studies show that lavender has antidepressant and antianxiety properties and can be used to help treat insomnia. 
  • Passion flowers can also be used to enhance the quality of your sleep. Study suggests that this herb can help reduce the time taken for a person to fall asleep and also reduces the chances of waking up in the middle of the night.
  • Ashwagandha can also be used to help fall asleep peacefully. 
  • Research suggests that turmeric acts as a mild tranquilliser. Some studies suggest that drinking lukewarm milk with turmeric can really help you calm down and induce sleep. 

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have discussed Propranolol induced insomnia. Several surveys have revealed that people have suffered from sleep disturbances, to some extent, after long term use of Propranolol. 

However, some people have claimed that they have never suffered from any kind of sleep disturbance while being treated with Propranolol. Make sure you inform your healthcare provider about your side effects. 

If Propranolol severely affects your sleep quality, it indicates that it is not the right choice of medication for you. However, it is not recommended to stop using Propranolol abruptly. If you wish to stop, just talk to your healthcare provider. 

FAQs: propranolol insomnia 

How common is insomnia with propranolol?

Insomnia with Propranolol is not that common, but it is reported by a number of people. Several surveys have revealed that people have suffered from sleep disturbances, to some extent, after long term use of Propranolol. However, some people have claimed that they have never suffered from any kind of sleep disturbance while being treated with Propranolol. This indicates that this medication can cause insomnia, but not in every single individual taking it. 

Do beta blockers cause insomnia? 

Beta blockers may cause insomnia. However, more research is required to determine the severity and incidence of this side effect. It is a known fact that every human body reacts differently when it is exposed to medications. This is exactly why it is impossible to predict how your body will react once it is exposed to Propranolol. 

What can I take to help me sleep while on propranolol?

  • Chamomile possesses natural antidepressant and antianxiety properties and can help stabilise your mood. 
  • Lavender has antidepressant and antianxiety properties and can be used to help treat insomnia. 
  • Passion flowers can help reduce the time taken for a person to fall asleep and also reduces the chances of waking up in the middle of the night. 
  • Ashwagandha can also be used to help fall asleep peacefully. 
  • Some studies suggest that drinking lukewarm milk with turmeric can really help you calm down and induce sleep. 

Should propranolol be taken at night?

You can take Propranolol at night, but only if it does not cause insomnia. Propranolol does not cause insomnia or sleep disturbances in every other individual. However, if you’re one of the unlucky ones and you do find it difficult to fall asleep after taking Propranolol, make sure you don’t take it at bedtime. 

Can I take melatonin with propranolol?

Yes, you can take melatonin with Propranolol, but you should definitely ask your healthcare provider before using these two together. Melatonin can, in fact, counteract the effects of Propranolol induced insomnia in some people. Melatonin is an important chemical that regulates your sleep cycle. Without having much melatonin in your system, your sleep pattern starts to get affected. 

References 

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