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Medicine or Other Drug Use and Sleep Problems

Topic Overview

Many prescription and nonprescription medicines can cause sleep problems. A few examples of these medicines are:

  • Antidepressants.
  • Cold medicines.
  • Steroid medicines.
  • Nonprescription diet aids.

Other substances

Other substances that may cause sleep problems include:

  • Alcohol. At first, drinking alcohol may cause sleepiness. Many people may drink alcohol to help them go to sleep. But when you drink alcohol, you are more likely to awaken later in the night.
  • Caffeine. Drinking a cup of coffee or other caffeine-containing beverage during the day can cause sleeplessness. Caffeine can stimulate the body for 3 to 7 hours and can interfere with your sleep as long as it remains in your body. Even the small amount of caffeine in decaffeinated beverages can interfere with sleep.
  • Nicotine, which can disrupt sleep and reduce total sleep time. Smokers report more daytime sleepiness and minor accidents than do nonsmokers, especially in younger age groups.
  • Illegal drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, and methamphetamines.

Credits

Current as of: January 31, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Mark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine

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