The Cleveland Clinic

Sleep Disorders: Drug- and Alcohol-Related Sleep Disorders

Sleep disturbances have been associated with drug use, drug abuse, and withdrawal from drug abuse. Sleep disturbances also have been linked to the use of alcohol and to chronic alcoholism.

Drugs and Sleep

Many prescription and nonprescription medications can cause sleep problems. The severity of sleep problems caused by a medication will vary from person to person.

Prescription drugs that may cause sleep problems include:

  • High blood pressure medications
  • Hormones such as oral contraceptives
  • Steroids including prednisone
  • Respiratory medications
  • Diet pills
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder medications
  • Some antidepressants

The following nonprescription medicines can cause sleep problems:

  • Pseudoephedrine, including the brand Sudafed
  • Medications with caffeine. These include the brands Anacin, Excedrin, and No-Doz as well as cough and cold medications.
  • Illegal drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, and methamphetamines.
  • 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.

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