Sleep is one of the most important things we can do to maintain our health. However, when treating other parts of the body, those medications and treatment plans can interfere with sleep. Here is a list of common heart medications and how they can interfere with sleep. If you take any of these medications and find yourself having trouble sleeping, they may be the culprit and you may have to talk with your physician to see if there is another option.
Beta blockers are commonly prescribed drugs for heart arrhythmias or hypertension. A common example of this drug is carvedilol (Coreg) which can cause insomnia and nightmares. Beta blockers reduce your body's secretion of melatonin hormones at night. Melatonin is responsible for regulating your sleep/wake cycle. Without it, or with lower levels, you may have trouble producing enough melatonin to get a good night's sleep.
Statins like Lipitor (atorvastatin) are used to help treat high cholesterol or lower your risk of heart disease. Cholesterol can build up in your arteries and clog them, making it hard for blood to pass through. Statins help to reduce these blockages and reduced your risk of coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction (heart disease). They can keep you up at night and some can affect your nervous system, causing you to have trouble sleeping or nightmares.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors like lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril) and angiotensin II-receptor blockers (ARBs) like valsartan (Diovan) are very popular drug classes for treating high blood pressure. They both have a risk of causing insomnia through different mechanisms. ACE Inhibitors cause a dry, hacking cough that can last all day and night, making it difficult to cough. They also both increase your potassium levels which can lead to aching muscles and bones that can keep you awake.
What to do if your medications are causing insomnia
If you have trouble sleeping due to these medications, do not stop taking them without your physician's approval. Without taking these, you put yourself at risk for serious heart complications and even death. There are other options including supplementing your medications with a sleep aid, switching to an effective heart medication without adverse effects, and making lifestyle changes that may reduce the need for some of these medications.
The most important thing to do if you are experiencing sleep complications and you are taking one of these medications, then please talk with your physician as sleep is important for maintaining health as well. If you aren't sure if you're having trouble sleeping, then please click the orange button below to take a free online sleep test.