Substance Use

How Does Oxycodone Affect Your Sleep?

Zinnia Healing

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Oxycodone Sleep Effects

Oxycodone is a prescription medication used to treat moderate to severe pain. It’s a semi-synthetic opioid analgesic derived from the opium poppy plant, similar to opiates such as morphine, codeine, and heroin. Oxycodone is one of the most widely used painkillers and sold under brand names such as OxyContin®. While it’s an effective pain reliever, long-term use of oxycodone can lead to poor sleep and sleep disorders.

Are you or a loved one struggling with an oxycodone addiction? Zinnia Healing can help. Call us anytime at (855) 430-9439 for information. 

Why Does Oxycodone Affect Your Sleep?

Oxycodone is an opioid that interacts with the opioid receptors in the central nervous system. When oxycodone enters your bloodstream, it signals to your brain to release dopamine, a chemical associated with reward, pain, and mood. The sudden release of dopamine caused by oxycodone is highly effective for pain management, but dopamine also plays a role in sleep regulation.

You may notice shifts in your sleep patterns if you’re taking oxycodone in high doses or for long periods. Sleep quality may change due to the high amounts of dopamine in your system, which can inhibit the release of melatonin, a chemical that’s fundamental for relaxing the body and helping you get to sleep.

The effects of opioids on the body are well-studied, to the point that doctors have identified a risk known as opioid-induced insomnia. Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, but opioids add another layer to the problem, as they can change your internal sleep patterns.

What Sleeping Problems Can Oxycodone Cause?

Oxycodone and other opioids are often associated with sleep issues, with the most common being restless sleep. This is because opioids can block your body’s ability to enter REM and slow-wave sleep, which are the deep stages of sleep in which your body rests and recovers. So, even if you’re sleeping for the same amount of time, the use of opioids reduces your sleep quality, leading to restless sleep.

Over time, oxycodone can create a frustrating cycle of poor sleep. Because of changes in your circadian rhythm, you’ll have trouble falling asleep. When you do sleep, you’ll have trouble entering a deep sleep. So, when you wake, you might suffer from drowsiness. Over time, the lack of quality sleep can lead to sleep deprivation, which can cause sleepiness and reduced alertness throughout the day.

Even those taking oxycodone under the supervision of their doctor for severe pain or another reason will experience the side effects and sleeping problems that this medication can cause. However, those suffering from an opioid addiction who are misusing oxycodone by taking it in high doses or mixing it with other drugs may experience amplified side effects. They’re also at greater risk of life-threatening consequences due to undiagnosed sleeping problems and sleep disorders.

Are Sleeping Problems Caused by Oxycodone Dangerous?

If you’re taking oxycodone or other opioids, it’s important to work closely with your doctor to manage your dose and discuss any negative side effects you’re experiencing, like trouble sleeping. The range of sleep disorders that opioids can cause may impact your quality of life and health and become dangerous.

Some of the dangers of oxycodone-related sleeping problems include:

  • Sleep-disordered breathing like sleep apnea causes your breathing to start and stop sporadically throughout the night. When combined with respiratory depression (i.e., slow, shallow breathing) caused by oxycodone, it can be fatal.
  • High doses of oxycodone can lead to severe respiratory depression, which is compounded by a condition like sleep apnea. This can lead to oxygen deprivation while you sleep, resulting in organ damage and organ failure.
  • Opioid-induced insomnia can rapidly lead to sleep deprivation, which comes with a host of dangers, including an increased risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes.
  • Mixing oxycodone with sleep aids and sedatives to get better sleep can be fatal. Medications should never be mixed without first consulting with your doctor. Likewise, oxycodone should not be mixed with alcohol.

While lack of sleep may not seem like a serious ordeal when you first start taking a drug like oxycodone, it’s not something you should ignore. In the short-term, poor sleep will impact your quality of life and, in the long-term, it could be life-threatening.

Oxycodone is addicting, but Zinnia Healing can help. Give us a call at (855) 430-9439 to discuss your treatment options in a confidential phone call. 

How Sleeping Problems Caused by Oxycodone Can Impact Mental Health

Sleep is a necessary bodily process, and missing quality sleep due to a drug like oxycodone can severely impact your physical and mental health. If you’re already suffering from a condition like depression or anxiety, it’s essential to talk with your doctor before taking an opioid like oxycodone. However, even if you have not been diagnosed with a mood disorder, you should monitor symptoms and signs that one is developing.

Sleep deprivation is associated with mental health concerns, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia

Another thing to note is that long-term opioid use can change the way your brain releases dopamine. In fact, once your brain becomes dependent on opioid-induced dopamine, it may stop producing it completely. For this reason, suddenly stopping oxycodone is dangerous, especially if you know you’re prone to depression, anxiety, lack of motivation, or similar challengers.

If you think oxycodone may be harming your mental health, it’s time to talk to a caring team of professionals who can walk you through your options.

How Zinnia Healing Can Help

If you’re experiencing poor sleep due to oxycodone, learning how to cope with it is important. This is especially true if you’re taking oxycodone as a pain medication, as your doctor might want you to take it indefinitely to manage your condition. Remember, you shouldn’t take any sleeping medication with oxycodone before talking to your doctor.

If you’re taking oxycodone without medical supervision or in conjunction with a substance use disorder, short-term coping strategies are only a temporary solution. If you’re looking for help with recovery, Zinnia Healing can offer the guidance you need. Call us at (855) 430-9439 for information.