Substance Use

How Does Xanax Affect Your Sleep?

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Xanax Sleep Effects

Xanax (brand name for alprazolam) belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, similar to Valium and Klonopin. “Benzos” are most commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, but sometimes they’re prescribed to help with sleep.

Xanax can affect sleep in several ways. This is because benzodiazepines mimic the neurotransmitter known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GAMA), which promotes a calming effect in your brain.

If you need help sleeping, taking Xanax may seem to work in the short term.

However, it’s less effective as a sleep aid than non-benzodiazepines that are made for sleep. Additionally, taking Xanax for sleep can lead to unpleasant side effects, like next-day drowsiness. 

Are you or a loved one experiencing trouble sleeping or other symptoms of potential substance abuse? The knowledgeable team at Zinnia Health can help. Call our helpline anytime at (855) 430-9439 for more information. 

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How Does Xanax Impact Sleep?

Xanax can be effective in reducing anxiety and inducing a sense of calm for many people in the short term. However, Xanax may interfere with the deep, restful sleep people need.

When you step back and look at the big picture, it becomes clear that Xanax isn’t the ideal medication for sleeping problems. 

Xanax interacts with the GAMA receptors in the central nervous system, and while it has a sedating effect, it’s not as effective for sleep as a sleeping medication like Ambien, which is a sedative-hypnotic.

It’s true that Xanax can cause intense feelings of sleepiness and drowsiness soon after taking the drug, but its short half-life determines how effective it is at actually helping you get to sleep and stay asleep.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), benzodiazepines like Xanax with a short half-life can worsen sleep quality in the long term.

People who take Xanax routinely over the course of a few months might experience a condition known as “rebound insomnia” when they discontinue the medication.

This condition is marked by reduced sleep quality compared to pretreatment levels. 

People who take Xanax for sleep or any other reason will also develop tolerance to the drug. This means that, while it may seem effective for the first few days, individuals will quickly begin to crave more Xanax as they won’t feel the same effects from the same dose.

A study published by the NIH found that participants felt Xanax was 40% less effective for sleep by the end of the first week. 

The Side Effects of Taking Xanax for Sleep

Taking Xanax won’t necessarily improve the quality of a person’s sleep in the long term.

Another reason individuals shouldn’t take Xanax for sleep is because it causes a wide range of side effects, including grogginess.

Some of the side effects people may experience when taking Xanax include: 

  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Reduced alertness
  • Intense, hangover-like feelings

The “Xanax hangover” is one of the most unpleasant and notable side effects, as it can make you feel less well-rested than if you hadn’t taken any medication the night prior. 

Is Taking Xanax for Sleep Dangerous?

Long-term Xanax isn’t known to improve sleep quality, but long-term use will lead to tolerance and eventually dependence on the drug.

Psychological dependence can lead to physical addiction, which has many side effects that can further impact sleep quality. 

Taking Xanax can also contribute to dangerous sleep disorders like sleep apnea, which causes you to stop breathing while sleeping.

According to the NIH, benzodiazepines like Xanax can cause complete obstructive sleep apnea in heavy snorers. It can also lead to short repetitive central sleep apnea for those suffering from myocardial infarction. 

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can be deadly, and it’s also hard to detect, especially if you sleep alone. Without prompt diagnosis and treatment, sleep apnea can cause permanent damage due to respiratory depression, which leads to oxygen deprivation for major organs. 

If a person is trying to treat insomnia or another sleep disorder, sleep medications exist that are far more effective than Xanax for that purpose with fewer side effects. 

Xanax addiction shouldn’t be ignored. If you or a loved one are currently using Xanax, Zinnia Health can help. Call our helpline anytime at (855) 430-9439 for information on the next steps. 

Can I Recover from Sleep Problems Caused by Xanax?

If you’ve been taking Xanax for sleep in the short term, your body might not have developed an addiction yet. This means stopping the medication won’t necessarily lead to withdrawal symptoms or rebound insomnia.

Stopping Xanax won’t necessarily fix your sleeping problems either, especially if you were experiencing sleep issues before taking the drug.

Both over-the-counter sleeping pills and prescription medications could help an individual restore sleep quality following Xanax use, even if they’re suffering from a condition like rebound insomnia.

For the best advice, Xanax users should reach out to a medical professional to discuss the sleeping pills and methods they’ve tried.

Medical professionals are the only trustworthy source able to provide personalized information on how supplements, therapies, and certain medications can improve sleep quality without the drowsiness and reduced alertness caused by a drug like Xanax.

Struggling With Xanax Addiction? Get Help Today

Due to the risk of dependency associated with Xanax and the long list of common side effects, Xanax isn’t necessarily the best solution for someone suffering from sleep problems.

While Xanax is often prescribed for anxiety disorders and similar conditions, other treatment options exist for sleeplessness and other sleep problems.

If you’re using it as a means of self-medicating or if you’re mixing it with other drugs for recreational purposes, it’s crucial to reach out to a team of caring professionals who can help you restore a healthy lifestyle.

Ready to take the next step? Our team at Zinnia Health is standing by to help. We can help you recover from your addiction in a confidential, friendly environment with inpatient, outpatient, and holistic treatment programs customized to your needs. Call our helpline at (855) 430-9439 and talk to our team to get on the path to a healthier life. 

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