Can you take Propranolol before bed? (+3 side effects)

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In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “Can you take Propranolol before bed?”. Propranolol is one of the most commonly prescribed beta-blockers and can be used to treat a variety of health conditions. 

However, the time at which you take Propranolol can make things a little different for you, especially in terms of side effects. This blog will cover the pros and cons of taking Propranolol before bedtime. 

Can you take Propranolol before bed? 

Yes, you can take Propranolol before bedtime. In fact, the sustained-release dosage form of Propranolol should be taken at bedtime everyday. However, Propranolol may cause insomnia or other sleep disturbances in some individuals which may make this timing a little off for you. 

In such circumstances, talk to your healthcare provider in order to determine the most appropriate time of taking Propranolol for you. Make sure you do not change the dose or its frequency without your doctor’s approval. It is also not recommended to stop using Propranolol abruptly. 

If you suffer from some side effects or think that your body is unable to bear this medication, then simply reach out to your healthcare provider. If necessary, your doctor will recommend a proper taper schedule for you to discontinue using Propranolol with minimal withdrawal symptoms. 

What side effects can make nighttime Propranolol dose difficult for you? 

There are some side effects that may make your nighttime a little too difficult to pass. These include:

  • Insomnia
  • Acid reflux or heartburn
  • Dizziness 

As stated earlier, Propranolol can cause sleep disturbances. 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. It can also cause other side effects like acid reflux. This side effect is considered a common one and the best way to counteract this side effect is to take your Propranolol with food. However, if you’re planning to take it at bedtime, you can not fill your stomach up with meals. 

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 makes people take Propranolol without anything to eat and just after an hour or two, they begin to experience heartburn and acid reflux. In short, Propranolol can disturb your sleep cycle, one way or another. 

What is the most appropriate time for you to take Propranolol? 

In order to determine the most appropriate time to take your Propranolol, you need to talk to your healthcare provider. As we have discussed, the timing at which you take your meds has a close relationship with the side effects. 

By changing the time, you can avoid some of the side effects. If you don’t suffer from any sleep disturbance, acid reflux, or any other side effect that can make your nighttime unbearable, then you can definitely take Propranolol before you go to bed.

It could be the most appropriate time for you to take it. However, if you suffer from side effects then some other time can be determined for you. In usual practice, most doctors advise to take it early in the morning. 

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. 

What to do if Propranolol disturbs your sleep quality? 

There are a few things you can try if Propranolol makes it difficult for you to fall asleep. These include:

  • Do not use smart gadgets. They can mess up with the entire functioning of melatonin receptors. 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. 
  • Do not drink coffee before bedtime. Caffeine 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.
  • 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.

You can also use some natural herbs which are considered free from side effects at therapeutic doses and they can help you sleep better. Some of 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. 

What are the side effects associated with the use of Propranolol? 

Propranolol, like every other medication on this planet, is associated with some side effects. The most common ones include:

  • Xerostomia or dry mouth 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Constipation 
  • Flatulence 
  • Acid reflux 
  • Depression 
  • Fatigue 
  • Lightheadedness 
  • Abnormal pain
  • Acid reflux 
  • Flu like symptoms 
  • Skin rash

Some serious side effects include:

  • Difficulty in breathing and chest tightness 
  • Swollen hands and feet as a result of an allergic reaction. 
  • Wheezing
  • Blackouts 
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Arrhythmia 

Apart from these side effects, Propranolol is not a good choice of medication for everyone. There are some warnings that are associated with the use of this medication and not everyone should use this. People who should not use beta blockers include:

  • People suffering from asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) should not take Propranolol. This med can exacerbate their respiratory illness. 
  • People with diabetes. This medication lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, which is why a diabetic patient fails to detect when his or her blood sugar level drops. 
  • Pregnant women. Studies have indicated that Propranolol and other beta blockers can pass the placenta and act on the growing fetus, which is exactly why this medication is in Category C of pregnancy medications.
  • People with Peripheral vascular diseases. Propranolol should not be used in people who suffer from poor blood flow to several other body parts. This is because Propranolol can end up exacerbating the poor blood flow because the drug further lowers down the heart rate and blood pressure. 

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have discussed the use of Propranolol at bedtime. We learned that it is absolutely okay to take Propranolol at bedtime. In fact, the sustained-release dosage form of Propranolol is supposed to be taken at bedtime everyday. 

However, Propranolol may cause insomnia or other sleep disturbances in some individuals which may make this timing a little off for you. In such circumstances, talk to your healthcare provider in order to determine the most appropriate time of taking Propranolol for you. 

Make sure you do not change the dose or its frequency without your doctor’s approval. It is also not recommended to stop using Propranolol abruptly. If you suffer from some side effects or think that your body is unable to bear this medication, then simply reach out to your healthcare provider. 

FAQs: propranolol before bed

How long does propranolol take to work for sleep?

Propranolol is not a sleeping pill and it does not help you fall asleep. However, it can be used as an anxiolytic drug which can be used to relieve anxiety and make you calm. This sensation can help you sleep but the drug itself does not possess any sedative properties. In fact, it can cause insomnia and sleep disturbances in some people. 

Should beta blockers be taken at night? 

Yes, you can take Propranolol before bedtime. In fact, the sustained-release dosage form of Propranolol is supposed to be taken at bedtime everyday. However, Propranolol may cause insomnia or other sleep disturbances in some individuals which may make this timing a little off for you. In such circumstances, talk to your healthcare provider in order to determine the most appropriate time of taking Propranolol for you.

Does propranolol help you relax?

Yes, Propranolol does help you feel relaxed. It can be used as an anti-anxiety medication and help calm you down to some extent. Studies have shown that Propranolol does possess some anxiolytic properties and it can control the excessive neuronal firing in your brain. However, there are other, better anti-anxiety meds available to treat your anxiety other than 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. 

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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