Does Tylenol Keep You Awake Or Cause Sleepiness
This article was written and researched by Dr. Albert Stezin to ensure maximum factual accuracy and unique content.
If you are taking Tylenol and experiencing sleep disturbances, then you may be wondering if this medication is to blame.
So does Tylenol cause insomnia or drowsiness?
Tylenol can cause both insomnia and sleepiness depending on the individual. Insomnia is the most likely sleep disturbance potentially due to neurotransmitter changes, agitation, or anxiety. Drowsiness may occur if taken with other medications like Tylenol PM or Tylenol Nighttime.
So how can you sleep better if Tylenol is causing insomnia?
The most effective way to stop Tylenol from keeping you awake is to lower the dose as much as possible, stop taking the medication, or switch to Tylenol Nighttime. Taking Tylenol no sooner than 3-4 hours before bedtime may help to limit insomnia if discontinuation isnt possible.
In the rest of this article, I have used my professional knowledge as a practicing medical doctor to explain in more detail how Tylenol affects sleep and how you can stop this medication from disrupting your sleep.
However, Tylenol can be harmful to your health with higher doses being potentially fatal so always consult with your doctor before altering your treatment plan.
How Should I Take Tylenol Pm
Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Tylenol PM is only for short-term use until your symptoms clear up.
Do not take more of this medicine than is recommended. An overdose of acetaminophen can damage your liver or cause death. Taking too much diphenhydramine can lead to serious heart problems, seizures, coma, or death.
Tylenol PM is not for use in anyone younger than 12 years old. Do not use the medicine to make a child sleepy. Death can occur from the misuse of antihistamines in very young children.
Do not use this medicine for longer than 2 weeks to treat sleep problems, or longer than 7 days to treat cold or allergy symptoms.
If you need surgery or medical tests, tell the doctor ahead of time if you have taken this medicine within the past few days.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Clinical Trials And Blockers
A different antihistamine compound has been developed specifically for sleep troubles the prescription drug Silenor contains a low dose of doxepin. Krystal ran a randomized controlled trial funded by the drugmaker and found the drug helped older people improve sleep time and sleep quality. Subjects still woke up in the middle of the night, but they fell back asleep sooner than before. Also, they had fewer early morning awakenings, and side effects were inconsequential.
Krystal says that Silenor blocks the bodys natural arousal system, which is mediated by histamine. Since that study, he continues to study the mechanisms of awakening, which, when blocked, represent a new strategy of aiding sleep rather then enhancing drowsiness or sleepiness, as the other sleep aids do.
Another wake-promoting signal in the body is a small protein called orexin. Belsomra is a prescription orexin blocker that helps people keep sleeping toward morning and has little morning sedation.
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What You Need To Know About Sleep Medications Their Side Effects And Other Issues
A lot of people out there dont get enough sleep more than 1 in 3 American adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If youre one of them, you probably know there are two main treatments for improving sleep: behavioral methods and medications.
When youre desperate for a good nights sleep, medications sure do sound appealing. But there are caveats with them all the prescription pills, the over-the-counter products and the herbal supplements.
Before describing the medications in detail, Ill remind you that the prevailing wisdom is that cognitive behavioral therapy, which involves changing habits and bedtime rituals, is the first-line treatment for insomnia. Sleep experts say CBT is more effective and longer lasting than medication for most people but maybe youre not most people.
Theres clearly a subset of patients who dont improve with CBT, says Andrew Krystal, who directs the sleep research program at the University of California at San Francisco. Theres also a problem with access, he says, as CBT requires effort. Even some of the seemingly simple online versions have fees attached.
Another thing to consider before looking at medications is that sleep troubles often result from something else, such as sleep apnea or depression. Also, alcohol and caffeine intake can interfere with good sleep, as can certain medications, says Constance Dunlap, a D.C. psychiatrist in private practice.
Tylenol Can Cause Insomnia
Insomnia and frequent awakening are reported in 7% of people using Tylenol.
The exact mechanism of disruption is not known but its believed to be secondary to neurotransmitter changes in the brain.
Another hypothesis is that other brain-related side effects of Tylenol, such as agitation, anxiety, and headache may precipitate insomnia, especially in the elderly.
In my professional experience as a doctor, people who use Tylenol for chronic pain conditions tend to develop a medication overuse headache, and sleep disturbances.
This usually goes away after stopping Tylenol use.
Furthermore, Tylenol can sometimes cause gastritis and heartburn, which can keep you awake at night.
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Acetaminophen In Tylenol Pm
Tylenol PM contains acetaminophen. People who are allergic to this substance may develop a rash, blisters, or skin discoloration if they take this product.
Acetaminophen is also associated with liver damage. People should note the following precautions:
- Do not take more than 4,000 mg in 24 hours.
- Avoid drinking three or more alcoholic drinks when taking this product.
- Do not take with other medication that contains acetaminophen.
People who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking blood thinners should talk to their doctor before taking Tylenol PM.
People who are 12 years of age or older can take two tablets of Advil PM before bed.
Those aged 12 years or older can take two caplets of Tylenol PM at bedtime.
A person should not take more than two pills of either product within a 24 hours
Is It Unhealthy To Take Tylenol Pm Every Night To Help Sleep
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Treat The Underlying Condition
Many people who use Tylenol do so without consulting a doctor to diagnose their underlying condition this leads to irrational use of pain medicines and unnecessary side effects such as insomnia.
There are many conditions, such as fibromyalgia, migraine, and neuralgia, whose pain fails to respond to Tylenol, but responds to other groups of medicines.
Hence, consulting a doctor, and treating the underlying causative condition may be more appropriate.
Research About Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride And Sleeplessness
Common side effects of diphenhydramine include :
- Attention disturbance
So while it may not affect everyone in the same way, Tylenol PM will tend to be sleep promoting because of this.
However, it may cause dizziness or headaches in some people, which might make it harder to sleep, or affect sleep quality.
There isnt too much research on the impact of diphenhydramine on sleep.
One study found that both valerian and diphenhydramine showed a modest hypnotic effect .
Another study that gave insomnia patients diphenhydramine found that :
The general condition of the patients with insomnia was at least slightly improved in 62.5% , 60% , and 67.4% after treatment with the test drug for 2 weeks. Side effects were observed in a total of 11 patients but were not severe.
In other words, more diphenhydramine isnt always better. Given the potential dangers of too much acetaminophen, theres no reason not to stay on the safe side.
One other interesting finding from that study was:
The hypnotic effect of diphenhydramine hydrochloride was significantly greater in patients who had not been treated previously.
So taking Tylenol PM can be effective at improving insomnia severity at first, but the effectiveness will go down over time.
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Can Tylenol Pm Make Sleep Worse
While there arent a ton of studies, all the ones we looked at showed that diphenhydramine hydrochloride has a positive effect, if any, on getting to sleep.
There appears to be 2 potential ways that Tylenol PM could make sleep worse:
SummaryWhile its not particularly common, a small percentage of people may find it harder to sleep after taking Tylenol PM.
Sleep Medications Affect Certain Races Differently
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco studied white and African American adults between ages 7079 who were not living with dementia at the start of the study. The researchers followed participants for 15 years and found that participants who said they took sleep medications often or almost always were more likely to develop dementia than those who said they never or rarely took sleep medications. However, the team only found an increased dementia risk among white males who commonly took sleep medications.
Based on our findings, we recommend that clinicians make more effort to be aware of their patients sleep problems including use of sleep aids, said lead study author Yue Leng, PhD, University of California, San Francisco. In particular, clinicians may need to be more cautious about prescribing sleep medications to older adults who are at high risk for dementia. There are non-pharmacological sleep treatment options that should be considered.
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What Drugs And Food Should I Avoid While Taking Tylenol Pm
Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Your reactions could be impaired.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine that may contain acetaminophen or diphenhydramine. This includes medicines for pain, fever, swelling, cold/flu symptoms, or anti-itch medicine used on the skin. Using too much acetaminophen or diphenhydramine can lead to a fatal overdose.
Drinking alcohol may increase your risk of liver damage while taking acetaminophen.
What Happens If I Overdose
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose can be fatal or cause liver damage.
Overdose symptoms may include loss of appetite, vomiting, weakness, confusion, ringing in your ears, upper stomach pain, dark urine, no urination, very dry eyes and mouth, yellowing of your skin or eyes, dilated pupils, fast heartbeats, tremor, agitation, hallucinations, or seizure.
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Warning Disclaimer Use For Publication
WARNING: Please DO NOT STOP MEDICATIONS without first consulting a physician since doing so could be hazardous to your health.
DISCLAIMER: All material available on eHealthMe.com is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. All information is observation-only. Our phase IV clinical studies alone cannot establish cause-effect relationship. Different individuals may respond to medication in different ways. Every effort has been made to ensure that all information is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. The use of the eHealthMe site and its content is at your own risk.
If you use this eHealthMe study on publication, please acknowledge it with a citation: study title, URL, accessed date.
Tylenol Can Cause Sleepiness In Some Individuals
Tylenol may cause some individuals to feel sleepy.
In my geriatric clinical practice, I have often noticed that elderly patients use Tylenol for sleep problems, even when there are no underlying pain complaints this anecdotal evidence may sound paradoxical given that insomnia is a known side effect of Tylenol.
However, in support of this observation, a recent survey reported that among people using non-prescription medicines for sleeping problems, 19% used Tylenol.
There are many hypotheses put forward to explain this sedative effect.
It is possible that the positive effect on sleep may be due to Tylenols beneficial effect on unrecognized pain, and other pain-associated complaints another possible mechanism is that Tylenol may reinforce the activity of cannabinoid receptors and serotonergic systems in the brain.
These systems are known to produce a sedative effect in people.
If Tylenol is used in combination with medicines such as dimenhydrinate and chlorpheniramine , sedation may result due to the synergistic sedative properties of both medicines.
It is also possible that, at least in some people, Tylenol may enhance sleep by acting as a placebo.
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Sleeplessness & High Blood Pressure
If you are experiencing occasional sleeplessness and have high blood pressure or are taking medication to help manage high blood pressure, you may be wondering which over-the-counter nighttime sleep aid options may be right for you. TYLENOL® PM and SIMPLY SLEEP® both contain the active ingredient diphenhydramine. Read more about diphenhydramine and high blood pressure below. to buy a TYLENOL® PM product.
Can They Be Taken Together
A person should not take Advil PM and Tylenol PM together.
Both medications contain diphenhydramine. Both product labels also recommend not taking them with other tranquilizers or sleep aids.
If a person experiences trouble sleeping or continued pain after taking either medication, they should talk to their doctor. They may be able to recommend a different solution.
Before using Advil PM, people should consult a doctor or pharmacist if they also take the following medications:
- another sedative or sleep aid
- another medicine that contains an antihistamine
- a diuretic
- aspirin for heart attack prevention
Before taking Tylenol PM, people should also speak with a doctor or pharmacist if they use blood thinners or other sedatives.
A person should not take Tylenol PM with other medications that contain acetaminophen or diphenhydramine.
In addition, Advil PM and Tylenol PM may interact with other drugs. People should talk to their doctor if they take other prescription medications to make sure they can safely take these products.
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Sleep Aid And Fever Reduction
One of the desired effects of Tylenol PM is to help people fall asleep easier 4. Patients may have trouble falling asleep due to the common cold, fever, flu or another condition. Diphenhydramine is an effective non-habit-forming medication for inducing sleep. Anti-histamines like diphenhydramine work by slowing down the activity in the central nervous system. Dr. Jerome Seigel at the University of California-Los Angeles, states that histamine, a neurotransmitter and hormone, is an essential key to wakefulness. Anti-histamines also help to lower body temperature and inflammation, which can help to relieve fever. Histamines are released in the nasal passages when someone has a cold, and this is partly responsible for sneezing. According to Drugs.com, Tylenol PM can also help reduce sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes 4.
When To See A Doctor
If a person is at risk of developing side effects, they should see their doctor before taking either medication.
If people take medications that could interact with Advil PM or Tylenol PM, they should ask their doctor about safe alternatives.
They should also see a doctor if they need a sleep aid for longer than a few days at a time or several times a month.
If people experience an allergic reaction that causes breathing problems, they should seek emergency medical help.
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What Is The Most Important Information I Should Know About Tylenol Pm
Ask a doctor before taking medicine that contains acetaminophen if you have ever had liver disease, or if you drink more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist if this medicine is safe to use if you have ever had:
- liver disease
- an enlarged prostate or urination problems
- asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , emphysema, or other breathing disorder
- glaucoma or
- a condition for which you take warfarin .
Ask a doctor before using this medicine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Diphenhydramine may slow breast milk production.
How Does Tylenol Pm Work
This sleeping pill works to make your body feel drowsy, promoting sleepiness. The feelings of drowsiness are caused by the antihistamine that Tylenol PM contains.
This sleep inducement is not the healthiest thing for your body, and its a quick fix, not a long-term solution.
If struggling to sleep is a regular issue for you, this sleeping pill can actually make things worse because it masks the underlying issue of not being able to sleep properly.
Its very typical for people who have insomnia to be more stressed than others. The more stress you are under, the more stress hormones your body releases. This interferes with the bodys natural production of melatonin, the hormone that promotes sleep.
Less melatonin means its harder for your body to sleep naturally on its own. Taking Tylenol PM has absolutely zero effect on your melatonin levels and it wont improve them.
When you are suffering from insomnia caused by stress among other things, you need a sleeping pill that wont just put you to sleep, but will help you with your symptoms.
You need something to help with your stress, anxiety, and something that will keep you calm and increase your melatonin levels.
Tylenol PM cannot do any of the above. The only way it makes your body fall asleep is by using a drug that makes your body drowsy.
Some people like this feeling, but if you want a long-term solution, we recommend looking elsewhere.
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