Is It Safe To Take Medicine Right Before Going To Sleep? Here's What Our Expert Has To Say

More than two-thirds of people in the United States take at least one prescription, and one-fourth of people take four or more each day, according to Civic Science. You might have a ritual for taking medication, such as taking them just before lunch or just after breakfast. Some people use their digital devices to remind them to take their medication.

As busy as your day might be, it's a good idea to establish a schedule for taking medications based on the time of day and whether they should be taken with food. Although some medications are best taken on an empty or full stomach, you might wonder if it's okay to take them just before bed.

Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Alexandra Kharazi told Health Digest in an exclusive interview that it depends on your medication. Medications such as beta blockers are taken twice a day, so they're safe to take before bed. However, WellRx says that these medications can cause nightmares or insomnia and may reduce how much melatonin your body releases. While other medications are safe to take before going to sleep, they might also interfere with your sleep cycle.

Medications that can keep you awake

According to WellRx, diuretics are meant to assist the kidneys in shuttling excess salt and water from the body. Therefore, diuretics can keep you awake if you take them before bed because you're more likely to get out of bed to run to the bathroom. 

Stimulant medications that treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are meant to be taken in the morning to improve focus and concentration. Taking them at night will disrupt your sleep. Corticosteroids for asthma or allergies can shake up your sleep cycle, and some might make you feel like you've had caffeine. Similarly, some sinus or cold medicines with pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine can stimulate you, so be aware of how these might affect you before taking them before sleep.

"If there is any uncertainty about whether or not it is safe to take medication before bed, check with a physician, provider, or pharmacist," Kharazi said.

Other considerations with taking medications before sleep

Kharazi suggests checking the side effects of your medications, especially if you have physical limitations. "If one of the side effects of a medication is dizziness, and someone has mobility issues and takes this medication before bed, this may increase the risk of a fall," she said. "This is especially true if they sleep alone and are unable to get help immediately."

Medications that are in pill or liquid forms usually don't make too much of a difference unless you have problems swallowing pills. Kharazi suggests asking your doctor for a liquid form of your medication if you have difficulty swallowing pills.

Some medications like cholesterol-lowering statins are best taken at bedtime. Your liver tends to produce more cholesterol at night, so this is when these medications are most beneficial (per AARP). Medications for rheumatoid arthritis should also be taken at night since symptoms are worse in the morning. These medications are geared to release their peak dosage while you're asleep to slow your body's production of symptom-producing cytokines.