thesleepdoctor.com is reader-supported. We might earn a fee via merchandise bought utilizing hyperlinks on this web page.
There are a lot of allergy drugs designed for daytime and nighttime use. Sometimes the nighttime treatment accommodates sure elements that will help you go to sleep. Some— like Benadryl— make individuals sleepy irrespective of after they take it due to their histamine-blocking properties.
Many Individuals additionally use Benadryl for sleep even after they aren’t experiencing allergic reactions. It’s extra widespread than you would possibly suppose.
Nevertheless, Benadryl isn’t one thing it’s best to use as a sleep assist— except you’re experiencing nighttime allergic reactions. When overused, Benadryl can probably trigger some undesirable negative effects. However earlier than we get into that, let me clarify why so many individuals use Benadryl for sleep within the first place.
Why Does Benadryl Make You Sleep?
The energetic ingredient in Benadryl and different allergy drugs is a chemical known as diphenhydramine. Diphenhydramine is a histamine blocker used to deal with allergy signs, some chilly signs, and even movement illness. This treatment has been in vast use for the reason that Nineteen Forties.
Benadryl isn’t the one treatment that accommodates diphenhydramine although. Nighttime medicines like Tylenol PM, Advil PM, or Sudafed’s day/night time chilly medication additionally comprise the ingredient. Actually, in keeping with the ingredient record for Benadryl Nighttime, the quantity of diphenhydramine doubles from 25mg to a whopping 50mg!
Many “daytime” ache relievers comprise caffeine— which after all, can hold you awake when you take it at night time. Nevertheless, their nighttime formulation don’t comprise caffeine. As a substitute, they comprise diphenhydramine to allow them to deal with your ache whereas serving to you sleep. That’s as a result of the principle facet impact of this ingredient is drowsiness.
Despite the fact that an antihistamine could make you drowsy, it isn’t made for treating insomnia. And when you already take care of hay fever, then you definately possible have an allergy treatment like Benadryl in your house. So when you’re feeling exhausted and unable to sleep— particularly from allergy season— it might be tempting to take Benadryl that will help you sleep and relieve your signs. Two birds, one stone.
This isn’t a good suggestion although, and right here’s why.
Why You Ought to Not Use Benadryl for Sleep
Keep in mind— Benadryl wasn’t created to assist with insomnia. So despite the fact that it could assist make you drowsy, that’s not what it was made for.
Not solely that, however Benadryl can truly hurt your sleep high quality, even when it initially helps your sleep onset. Discover how I stated “initially—” that is necessary, and I’ll clarify shortly.
Taking Benadryl for sleep also can trigger different hostile results:
- Throwing off your sleep-wake cycle. Whereas it could make you sneezy and sniffly, histamine additionally helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Histamine helps your physique get up— so by utilizing drugs that block it, you’re extra possible to go to sleep. Nevertheless, overuse can basically confuse your sleep cycle and make it a lot tougher so that you can go to sleep at bedtime. The key phrase right here is “overuse—” when you solely use Benadryl often whereas experiencing allergy signs at night time, you shouldn’t have any issues along with your sleep-wake cycle.
- You might really feel worse the subsequent day. It’s widespread to expertise daytime sleepiness and even a hangover of types after taking Benadryl at night time. After all, this will actually put a damper in your day.
- Your sleep high quality could also be affected. Whereas Benadryl may help you go to sleep quicker and keep asleep longer, it gained’t enhance your sleep high quality. A few of Benadryl’s potential negative effects embody dry mouth, an upset abdomen, and complications. These might be particularly troublesome at night time. Utilizing antihistamines at night time can probably result in parasomnias like sleepwalking as properly. Keep in mind, sleeping for a very long time isn’t the identical as getting good, restorative sleep. So despite the fact that it’s possible you’ll be sleeping longer, it doesn’t imply that you simply’re sleeping higher.
- Your physique can rapidly develop a tolerance for diphenhydramine— even in just some days. This implies you would wish the next dosage to get the identical sleep-inducing results. One examine discovered that after 4 days of getting used as a sleep assist, diphenhydramine labored no higher than a placebo.
- It could trigger issues with consideration and focus— particularly within the aged. One examine even discovered that drugs like diphenhydramine could also be linked to the event of dementia.
Lengthy story quick— you shouldn’t deal with a sleep drawback with allergy treatment. Utilizing an OTC sleep assist and even prescription sleep aids may cause issues down the road— together with insomnia. They’ll even be habit-forming, and trigger severe negative effects like sleepwalking, sleep-cooking, and even sleep-driving!
There are higher methods to get a very good night time’s sleep. They usually don’t require treatment.
Don’t Use Benadryl for Sleep— Attempt These 5 Cures As a substitute
Whether or not you expertise occasional sleeplessness or persistent insomnia, a very good night time’s sleep might be just some easy modifications away. Listed below are a number of of my strategies that will help you get higher sleep— all with out Benadryl.
1. Attempt a Melatonin Complement
Your physique naturally produces melatonin that will help you get the restful sleep you want every night time. Once you’re preparing for mattress, your physique produces extra that will help you go to sleep and keep asleep. Once you get up, your physique produces much less that will help you really feel energized all through the day.
In case you’re struggling to get a very good night time’s sleep, if indicated, a melatonin complement may provide the increase that you must sleep deeper and higher.
Keen on attempting melatonin? Try my information to what that you must know earlier than taking melatonin after you end right here.
2. Drink Tea
Some teas— together with lavender, valerian root, and chamomile tea— may help you go to sleep quicker and sleep higher when you drink them earlier than bedtime.
Keep away from caffeinated tea like black tea or matcha although— these will certainly hold you awake! For good measure, keep away from consuming any caffeine inside six hours of your bedtime. Which will appear to be a very long time, however that’s how lengthy it takes for caffeine to completely depart your system!
3. Pay Consideration to Your Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene is mainly your whole nighttime habits earlier than mattress. Good sleep hygiene helps you sleep higher, whereas poor sleep hygiene can imply lengthy nights questioning why you’ll be able to’t sleep.
Listed below are a number of methods you’ll be able to enhance your sleep hygiene tonight:
- Go to mattress on the similar time each night time, and get up on the similar time each morning
- Cease utilizing your digital units at the very least one hour earlier than mattress. The blue gentle emitted from these units can impression your physique’s pure melatonin manufacturing and make it tougher to sleep.
- Give your self an hour earlier than bedtime to complete any unfinished duties and to handle your nightly ablutions like brushing your tooth and washing your face.
- Attempt leisure strategies like journaling or meditation earlier than mattress. These may help you clear your thoughts, course of the day’s occasions, and drift off to sleep stress-free.
4. Congested? Attempt SinuSonic
I all the time say that it’s best to decongest for higher relaxation— particularly when you snore or expertise nighttime allergic reactions.
If nasal congestion at night time is driving you loopy, I like to recommend utilizing SinuSonic. This helpful machine makes use of gentle strain and delicate vibrations to assist clear your sinuses naturally, and with out medication or messy irrigation. All it takes is 2 minutes earlier than mattress to assist relieve that congestion and breathe higher all through the night time.
5. Take a Bathe or Heat Tub Earlier than Mattress
There’s nothing like a heat bathe or bathtub that will help you unwind after an extended day. Taking a heat bathtub or bathe an hour or two earlier than bedtime could make it a lot simpler to get a very good night time’s sleep. Each are a wonderful approach to loosen up your physique, soothe sore muscle tissues, and calm a racing thoughts. A heat bathtub or bathe additionally lowers your physique temperature, serving to you calm down earlier than settling into mattress for the night time.
You probably have nighttime allergic reactions, this will additionally wash off any irritants that might forestall you from sleeping properly, comparable to pollen, mud, or pet dander.
Itching For A Good Night time’s Sleep? Skip the Antihistamine
There’s a purpose why Benadryl is a well-liked and well-known allergy remedy— it really works properly if it’s used as really useful! And when you’re experiencing nighttime allergy signs, Benadryl can present some welcome reduction to these sleepless nights. Nevertheless, it’s necessary to all the time use Benadryl as directed and keep away from utilizing it when you don’t have allergic reactions.
Sleep points are demanding, particularly when it looks as if the answer to your woes is as shut because the grocery retailer. However as an alternative of utilizing an antihistamine like Benadryl for sleep, know that there are significantly better choices on the market.
Typically the smallest, easy modifications could make the largest distinction. Give these a try to see how you are feeling!
Michael J. Breus, PhD, FAASM
The Sleep Physician