Does Ibuprofen Make You Sleepy?

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Ibuprofen is part of a group of medications called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These are your everyday painkillers for various body aches and pains. Popular brand names for ibuprofen include Motrin, Advil, Midol, and Nuprin. Lower-strengths of ibuprofen are available over the counter (OTC), while higher strengths can only be obtained by prescription.

Does ibuprofen make you sleepy? On its own, ibuprofen won’t make you feel sleepy or help you sleep any better. It is a pain reliever and not a sleep aid. But there is an ibuprofen PM formulation that contains diphenhydramine as an added ingredient. In this case, diphenhydramine, an antihistamine, can make you feel sleepy.

If you’re not able to sleep because of pain or inflammation, ibuprofen may help you get to sleep, but it should not be used as a sleep aid. Keep reading to learn more about how ibuprofen can make you feel sleepy.

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Does Ibuprofen Make You Sleepy?

When you are suffering from pain, fever, or inflammation, you will surely have a hard time falling asleep and getting good rest. There is a consequent alleviation of these symptoms by taking ibuprofen; therefore, it may help you fall asleep. This is the reason why you may feel sleepy and get a good night’s rest after taking ibuprofen.

You may ask the question, “can ibuprofen help you sleep?” With less pain, you may sleep better. However, ibuprofen is not in and of itself an aid to induce sleep. Experts don’t recommend regular use or excessive dosages because it can cause permanent damage to the gastrointestinal tract and may exacerbate pre-existing medical conditions such as heart problems, kidney dysfunction, and liver disease.

How Does Ibuprofen Work?

Ibuprofen works by inhibiting the body’s production of the hormone prostaglandin that causes inflammation, which can eventually decrease pain, swelling, and fever.

study conducted on the effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin on the normal sleep patterns in humans showed that “aspirin and ibuprofen disrupted sleep by increasing the number of awakenings and percentage of time spent in stage wake.” There was also a decrease in sleep efficiency and a delay in the onset of the deeper stages. Experts believe that the sleep disruption related to NSAID consumption may be direct or indirect effects of prostaglandin synthesis inhibition. A decrease in prostaglandin can lead to suppression of melatonin levels and body temperature changes.

Ibuprofen Versus Ibuprofen PM

Ibuprofen is a plain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). On the other hand, ibuprofen PM has both an NSAID component plus the antihistamine diphenhydramine. Ibuprofen is indicated for pain, inflammation, and fever, while ibuprofen PM is used to treat occasional bouts of insomnia from minor aches and pains. However, it should never be used to treat sleeplessness if there is no pain.

How Long Does Ibuprofen PM Make You Sleep?

Girl Sleeping on Pillow in Comfortable Bed

Diphenhydramine in ibuprofen PM is an active ingredient of the popular antihistamine, Benadryl. Diphenhydramine exerts a sedative action that can help you get to sleep. While it can help many people fall asleep, experts recommend taking it only occasionally as a sleeping aid. You may have insomnia if you find that you are becoming more dependent on ibuprofen PM to fall asleep. In this case, you should visit your doctor, so appropriate measures can be taken to address the issue.

The sedating effects of ibuprofen PM usually last until the next day; therefore, you may feel drowsy even if you did sleep well the night before. However, experts don’t recommend using ibuprofen PM frequently to help in falling asleep. The possible side effects of diphenhydramine include dry mouth, blurred vision, and constipation. The side effects are more common in older people. Ibuprofen PM should not be taken for longer than ten days without your doctor’s advice.

Side Effects of Ibuprofen

Like any drug, ibuprofen has its share of side effects. If you notice any of these, stop taking the medication and tell your doctor immediately. These include any of the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Hearing changes — such as ringing in the ears
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Mood swings
  • Vision changes
  • Unexplained stiff neck
  • Symptoms of kidney problems — such as a change in the amount of urine
  • Symptoms of heart failure — swelling of the ankles or feet, unusual tiredness, and unexplained gain in weight
  • Signs of liver damage — dark urine, stomach pain, jaundice or yellowing of the eyes and skin, appetite loss, and persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Drowsiness — this is often associated with ibuprofen overdose, and it’s never a good thing. You should stop taking ibuprofen and report the effect to your doctor to avoid further complications.

The possibility of a severe allergic reaction to ibuprofen is rare. But if you notice rashes, itching, swelling of the face, tongue, or throat, difficulty breathing, and severe dizziness, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Long-term use, as well as taking high doses of ibuprofen, can increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke, especially if you have pre-existing heart disease. Ibuprofen should never be used just before or after heart bypass surgery.

Precautions to Observe When Taking Ibuprofen

Before taking ibuprofen, you should tell your doctor if you’re allergic to ibuprofen or NSAID medication like aspirin, naproxen, celecoxib.

It’s also important to notify your doctor or pharmacist about your medical history, such as asthma, blood disorders, nasal polyps and other growths in the nose, heart disease, liver disease, stroke, hypertension or high blood pressure, stroke, as well as problems affecting your throat, stomach, or intestines.

Since kidney problems can sometimes develop with NSAID medication, staying well-hydrated can help prevent potential problems. Dehydration has been shown to increase the risks of kidney problems.

Can You Overdose on Ibuprofen?

It is possible to overdose on ibuprofen when you take more than what is prescribed by your doctor. An ibuprofen overdose can be dangerous. In rare cases, it can be fatal.

What Is the Recommended Dosage of Ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen Tablets

At the appropriate dosage, ibuprofen is safe for children and adults. But it should be noted that pain medications are a common culprit for overdoses in adults.

Always take the recommended dose. The possibility of severe adverse reactions is too hard to ignore. It is recommended to use only the smallest dose of ibuprofen needed to achieve the desired results, which is relief from pain, inflammation, or fever.

Here’s a table summarizing the recommended and maximum daily dosages for adults and children.

AgeFeverPain ReliefMaximum Daily Dose
Children 3–23 months5 mg/kg per dose5–10 mg/kg per dose40 mg/kg per day
Children 24 months to 12 years old10 mg/kg per dose5–10 mg/kg per dose40 mg/kg per day
Adults 12 years and older200–400 mg per dose200–400 mg per dose1,200 mg per day
Table Source: Medical News Today

When Is the Best Time to Take Ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen should always be taken with food or a glass of milk to reduce the possibility of developing an upset stomach. Avoid taking it on an empty stomach.

Ibuprofen Use in COVID-19 Patients

There have been concerns about the increased risk of adverse effects associated with NSAID use in COVID-19 patients. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) say there is no clear evidence of severe adverse reactions from NSAID use in COVID-19 patients.

Natural and Healthy Alternatives to Help You Fall Asleep

Instead of taking ibuprofen to help you fall asleep, there are better and healthier alternatives that you can try:

  • Cut back on caffeine
  • Create a pleasant sleep environment
  • Power down electronics at least 2 hours before bedtime
  • Avoid sleeping next to your phone
  • Listen to a sleep playlist
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
  • Create a sleep schedule and make sure to stick to it every day
  • Have a relaxing hot shower before bed

You could also invest in a more comfortable mattress like Linenspa 8 (view on Amazon), which is a high-density support foam that can help relieve pain and pressure points. Another sought-after sleeping aid is a cooling memory foam pillow (view on Amazon) that helps keep you comfortable throughout the night with its signature gel layer and pressure-relieving pillow material.

Conclusion – Does Ibuprofen Make You Sleepy?

No, because ibuprofen does not exert any influence, directly or indirectly, on the part of the brain that causes drowsiness. However, it can help you have a good sleep because it can help provide relief from whatever pain or discomfort that is keeping you up. There is also Ibuprofen PM, a formula that contains diphenhydramine. Diphenhydramine, which is an antihistamine, can make you feel sleepy.

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