Does Propranolol work for insomnia? 

Does Propranolol work for insomnia? 

No, Propranolol does not work for insomnia. Propranolol may cause sleepiness in some people, but it can also cause insomnia or sleep disturbances. Propranolol is a beta-blocker. It does not generally induce sleep nor it is prescribed for that. 

However, Propranolol can be used to manage physical signs of anxiety, like rapid and irregular heart rate and flushing. This may make you feel relaxed and sleepy – but the medication itself does not induce sedation. 

Effects of Propranolol on sleep architecture according to research studies 

Propranolol does not directly affect your sleep architecture and it lacks sedating properties. However, this beta-blocker is known for causing insomnia in some people.

According to a research study based on the sedating effects of 80 mg of Propranolol, the medication did not help people struggling with insomnia. In fact, the study further explains how Propranolol made insomnia worse in some of the patients (1). 

This indicates that Propranolol may work to reduce your anxiety and symptoms associated with it, but it does not help insomnia in any way and Propranolol should be used cautiously in such patients. 

Effective treatment strategies for insomnia 

There are a number of effective treatment strategies for insomnia, but you first need to consult your healthcare provider. The treatment of insomnia depends on the severity of your sleeplessness and your overall physiological compatibility with the drug options available. 

As far as medications are concerned, there are plenty of sleep aids available – both over-the-counter and prescription medications. Among OTC sleep aids Diphenhydramine is considered effective. 

Prescription medications should be recommended by your doctor, as most of these meds come with side effects and not every medication works well for everyone. Commonly used prescription sleep aids are:

  • Benzodiazepines – Alprazolam, Lorazepam, etc. 
  • Sedative Hypnotics – Zolpidem, Eszopiclone, etc. 
  • Sedative antidepressants – Trazodone, Mirtazapine, etc.

Make sure you only take these medications if prescribed by your healthcare provider. Benzodiazepines and Hypnotics are habit-forming and have the potential for abuse. 

This is why you need to make sure that you always stick to the prescribed dose and don’t take these meds more often. In case you’re concerned about any of the side effects, reach out to your healthcare provider. 

It is also important to make sure that you use Propranolol for the right reasons and stick to the doctor’s recommended dose. It is also important to check for drug expiry before you take any medication to ensure its safety and potency.

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Danjou P, Puech A, Warot D, Benoit JF. Lack of sleep-inducing properties of propranolol (80 mg) in chronic insomniacs previously treated by common hypnotic medications. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 1987 Apr;2(2):135-40. doi: 10.1097/00004850-198704000-00007. PMID: 3298418. Available from: