Is it Safe to Use Adderall and Benadryl to Sleep? Risks, Alternatives, and Improving Sleep Quality

Discover the safety, risks, and alternatives of using Adderall and Benadryl for sleep in this informative article.

why do people use adderall and benadryl to sleep?

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While other medications are specifically designed to aid sleep, there is a growing trend of relying on alternative medications for this purpose.
Many individuals turn to Adderall and Benadryl to sleep, the two most commonly abused drugs. However, it raises the question of whether relying on these medications for sleep is a safe choice. Many risks and adverse effects exist on an individual’s overall health and well-being.
Adderall Causing Muscle Tension

What to Expect From This Article

This article explores the risks and potential side effects of using these medications for sleep. 

By examining the risks involved with using Adderall and Benadryl for sleep, readers can gain a better understanding of the implications and make informed decisions regarding their sleep health. This article will also offer alternative options and suggestions for a better night’s sleep.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription medication commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Sometimes, it is also used to treat narcolepsy. It is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that contains a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.

Adderall affects certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which regulate attention, focus, and impulse control.1

What is the Primary Use of Adderall?

The primary indication for Adderall is the treatment of ADHD in both children and adults. It helps individuals with ADHD by increasing their ability to concentrate, control impulsive behaviors, and manage hyperactivity.

How Does Adderall Work?

Adderall’s mechanism of action involves stimulating the release of neurotransmitters, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, in the brain. 

By increasing the levels of these neurotransmitters, Adderall enhances the signaling between neurons, promoting better focus and attention.2

impact of using adderall to sleep

One of the common side effects of Adderall is the potential disruption of sleep patterns. As a CNS stimulant, Adderall can increase alertness and wakefulness, making it difficult for individuals to fall asleep or maintain a consistent sleep schedule.

However, some studies show that 6% of adults taking Adderall ADHD had low energy levels and felt sleepy, while the percentage of kids experiencing sleepiness was 2% to 4%. Though uncommon, the possibility of being sleepy while on Adderall exists.2

Risks and Dangers of Misusing or Overusing Adderall for Sleep

Misusing Adderall can lead to a wide range of negative effects on someone’s well-being. There are potential physical health risks from using Adderall, like increased heart rate and blood pressure, that can impact an individual’s daily life.
These effects can also have an impact on sleep quality. When misused, Adderall can disrupt normal sleep patterns, leading to difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep through the night.
Here are some examples of the negative effects of Adderall:

Dependency and Tolerance

Misusing or overusing Adderall for sleep can lead to dependency and tolerance. Continued use of Adderall can make the body accustomed to the drug’s effects, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired outcome.
This can create a cycle of dependence, where individuals find it challenging to sleep without taking Adderall, leading to potential addiction.

Adverse Health Effects

Using Adderall without a medical need or outside of prescribed guidelines can have significant adverse health effects. 

Prolonged or excessive use of Adderall can result in cardiovascular issues, such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and potential cardiac abnormalities.

Additionally, Adderall misuse can lead to mood disturbances, anxiety, irritability, and even psychosis in some cases.3

Sleep Disruption and Circadian Rhythm Disturbances

College students commonly misuse Adderall to help them stay awake and enhance their performance. By altering sleep patterns and suppressing REM sleep, Adderall can disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm.

This disruption can lead to further sleep difficulties, fatigue, and overall impairment of daytime functioning.

What is Benadryl?

Benadryl is an over-the-counter antihistamine medication that contains diphenhydramine. Its primary use is to alleviate allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, itching, and watery eyes.

Due to its sedative properties, Benadryl is also used for other conditions like motion sickness, cough, cold, and insomnia.4

What is the Primary Use of Benadryl?

Benadryl is widely known for its antihistamine properties. It blocks the effects of histamine, a chemical released by the body during an allergic reaction. By antagonizing histamine receptors, Benadryl helps relieve allergy symptoms.

How Does Benadryl Work?

Diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in Benadryl, is an antagonist to histamine H1 receptors. By binding to these receptors, it blocks the effects of histamine in the body, reducing symptoms such as itching, sneezing, and runny nose.

Potential Effects of Benadryl on Sleeping

Although Benadryl is not specifically indicated for sleep disorders, its sedative properties have led to its off-label use as a sleep aid. Many individuals turn to Benadryl for short-term relief from insomnia or difficulty falling asleep.
Benadryl can help individuals fall asleep faster but may also lead to morning grogginess or residual drowsiness during the day. It is important to exercise caution when using Benadryl as a sleep aid, as prolonged or excessive use may result in dependence or tolerance.

Potential Side Effects and Risks of Using Benadryl for Sleep

While Benadryl may promote sleepiness, it is essential to be aware of the potential side effects and risks associated with its use for sleep purposes.5
Here are some examples of the side effects of misusing Benadryl:

Daytime Drowsiness

One of the most common side effects of Benadryl is daytime drowsiness. Since Benadryl’s sedative effects can extend beyond the night, individuals may experience residual sleepiness or grogginess the following day.
This can impair cognitive function, concentration, and overall alertness, affecting daily activities and performance.

Cognitive Impairment

Benadryl’s sedating effects can also lead to cognitive impairment, including slowed reaction times, decreased coordination, and difficulty with tasks requiring mental acuity. 

This can impact individuals’ ability to engage in activities that demand focus and attention, such as driving or operating machinery.

Anticholinergic Effects

Benadryl belongs to a class of medications known as anticholinergics, which can have various side effects. These may include dry mouth, blurred vision, urinary retention, constipation, and confusion, especially in older adults.

Prolonged use of anticholinergics has also been associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia.6

Addiction Potential of Benadryl

Benadryl is not considered addictive. Your body does not develop a physical dependence on the medication, and you do not need increasing doses over time to achieve the same effect. 

If you stop taking Benadryl, you will not experience withdrawal symptoms or increased sensitivity to allergens.7

Potential Interactions and Risks Associated with Combining Adderall and Benadryl to Sleep

Adderall is a stimulant and Benadryl is an antihistamine. The drugs usually have opposite effects on sleep. Adderall increases alertness, while Benadryl decreases it.
The drugs don’t pose any potential threat when taken together. Since Adderall’s alertness effect overpowers Benadryl’s sedating effect, it may help to cut down the drowsiness caused by diphenhydramine.8
However, that doesn’t mean that interaction between the two can never exist. Always consult your physician before combining any medicines.

Precautions and Guidelines for Usingadderall and benadryl to sleep safely

Before combining Adderall and Benadryl or any medications for sleep, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional. 

Doctors can provide personalized guidance based on an individual’s specific health condition, medical history, and potential medication interactions. This approach ensures the safest sleep solutions for each person’s needs.

Here are some things to consider when taking medication:

Follow Prescribed Dosages when using adderall and benadryl to sleep

If a healthcare professional prescribes both Adderall and Benadryl, it is crucial to follow the recommended dosages and administration guidelines provided.
Taking medications inappropriately, such as using higher doses or more frequently than prescribed, can increase the risk of adverse effects and potential interactions.

Timing and Administration considerations for using adderall and benadryl to sleep

Carefully consider the timing of administration for Adderall and Benadryl. Since Adderall can have stimulating effects, it is typically taken earlier in the day to minimize sleep disturbances.
On the other hand, Benadryl is typically taken closer to bedtime to promote sleep. It is essential to adhere to the recommended dosing schedule to ensure the desired effects of each medication are achieved without interference.

Regular Monitoring and Reporting

Regularly monitor your response to the medications and report any changes or concerns to your healthcare professional. 

They can assess the effectiveness of the prescribed regimen, address any emerging side effects or interactions, and make adjustments as necessary.

Consider Alternative Approaches when using adderall and benadryl to sleep

In cases where Adderall and Benadryl are not prescribed together, or their combination proves challenging, alternative approaches to sleep improvement should be explored.
This may include implementing non-pharmacological interventions like cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), practicing good sleep hygiene, managing stress levels, and adopting relaxation techniques.

Alternatives to Adderall and Benadryl to Sleep

When seeking alternatives to Adderall and Benadryl for sleep, it is important to consider non-pharmacological strategies, evidence-based treatments, and lifestyle modifications that can promote healthy sleep patterns.
These alternatives focus on addressing the underlying causes of sleep difficulties and fostering good sleep hygiene. Here are some approaches to consider:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is a well-established, evidence-based treatment for insomnia. It aims to identify and modify the thoughts, behaviors, and environmental factors that contribute to sleep difficulties.9

CBT-I involves several components:
  • Sleep Restriction Therapy: Limiting time spent in bed to match the actual sleep time, thereby increasing sleep efficiency.
  • Stimulus Control Therapy: Establishing a strong association between the bed and sleep by implementing consistent sleep-related behaviors.
  • Sleep Hygiene Education: Providing guidelines for promoting healthy sleep practices and optimizing the sleep environment.
  • Relaxation Techniques: Incorporating relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness meditation, to reduce arousal and promote calmness before bedtime.

Numerous studies have shown that CBT-I is highly effective in improving sleep quality, reducing the time it takes to fall asleep, and increasing total sleep time. 

It addresses the root causes of insomnia and provides individuals with long-term strategies to manage sleep difficulties.

Practical Tips for Improving Sleep Hygiene

Changing your lifestyle and diet can greatly affect your sleep quality without misusing medication.
Below are some evidence-based strategiesand lifestyle modifications that can help you overcome sleep issues in the long run:10

Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body’s internal clock and promotes a more consistent sleep pattern.

Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment

Make your sleep environment comfortable, quiet, dark, and cool. Use blackout curtains, earplugs, or a white noise machine if necessary. Ensure that your mattress, pillows, and bedding provide adequate support and comfort.

Wind Down Before Bed

Establish a relaxing bedtime routine that signals your body to go to sleep. The activities could include taking a warm bath, reading a book, or practicing relaxation techniques. 

Avoid stimulating activities, bright screens, and electronic devices in the hour leading up to bedtime.

Limit Stimulants

Avoid consuming caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol close to bedtime, as they can disrupt sleep patterns. Opt for decaffeinated beverages, herbal teas, or warm milk instead.

Create a Sleep-Conducive Atmosphere

Ensure that your bedroom is associated with sleep and relaxation. Use it exclusively for sleep and intimate activities, keeping work-related materials and electronic devices out of the bedroom.

Manage Stress

Implement stress management techniques, such as journaling, practicing mindfulness or meditation, or seeking support from a therapist. Stress can significantly impact sleep quality, so finding healthy coping mechanisms is essential.

Regular Exercise

Engaging in regular physical activity, ideally earlier in the day, can promote better sleep. Exercise helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, reduces stress, and increases overall well-being. 

However, it is important to avoid vigorous exercise too close to bedtime, as it can be stimulating.

Herbal Supplements

Certain herbal supplements have been traditionally used to promote sleep. Examples include valerian root, ginkgo biloba, lavender, and magnesium. Melatonin is yet another popular sleep supplement which is basically a sleep hormone that signals your brain to relax.

While some individuals may find them helpful, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal supplements, as they can interact with other medications and have potential side effects.

Relaxation Techniques

Engaging in relaxation techniques before bedtime can help calm the mind and prepare the body for sleep. Consider incorporating deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, or meditation into your nightly routine.
adderall and benadryl to sleep

choice house can help with addiction recovery

Misusing or overusing Adderall or Benadryl to sleep can have serious consequences. Some risks include dependency and adverse health effects. It’s essential to be aware of the potential risks and take precautions when using multiple medications concurrently.
Additionally, it is important to seek guidance from healthcare professionals to ensure safe and appropriate usage, especially when combining medications. By prioritizing responsible and informed use, individuals can protect their well-being and develop healthy sleeping patterns.

How Can Choice House Help?

At Choice House, we are here to help individuals struggling with Adderall addiction. Our program is designed specifically for young adult men (aged 18-35) and offers a full continuum of care.

We understand that addiction is often linked to trauma and attachment issues, which is why we approach treatment through a trauma-informed lens.

What to Expect From Our Boulder, Colorado Treatment Opportunities

Our therapeutic approach combines experiential modalities and 12-step facilitation to address substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health conditions. Our world-class outdoor component provides unique opportunities for growth and healing.

Additionally, we recognize the importance of family support and offer comprehensive treatment that involves the whole family system.

Start Your Healthy Sleeping Journey Today

Let us guide you on the path to recovery and help you regain control of your life. Contact us at 303-578-4981 to talk to our admissions team.

You can also click here to fill out our online contact form or email us at
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