Home / Blog June 14, 2024

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Xanax for Sleep: Pros, Cons, and Natural Alternatives

Xanax, a benzodiazepine commonly prescribed for anxiety, is sometimes used for sleep. However, its risks and limitations merit consideration.

xanax for sleep


Xanax offers short-term relief for sleep disturbances but poses risks of dependence and tolerance.

Limit screen time, take herbal teas, and use a weighted blanket to fall asleep naturally.

Seek medical advice if you experience chronic insomnia and excessive sleepiness. 

Did you know?
Xanax, originally marketed as a breakthrough treatment for anxiety and panic disorders in the 1980s, quickly became one of the most prescribed medications in the United States!

Ever find yourself tossing and turning at night, desperately seeking the elusive embrace of sleep? Perhaps you’ve heard whispers of a little pill called Xanax, rumored to whisk you away into dreamland with its seductive promise of tranquility? Before you dive headfirst into the embrace of pharmaceutical slumber, let’s unravel the mystery behind using Xanax for sleep.

Let’s dive in!

What Is Xanax?

Xanax is a brand name for the drug alprazolam, which belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines. It's commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and sometimes insomnia. Xanax works by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter in the brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which helps to calm the central nervous system.

Does Xanax Make You Sleep Better?

Xanax can help some people sleep better, especially those who suffer from anxiety or panic disorders that may interfere with their ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. Since Xanax has sedative effects, it can promote relaxation and calmness, which may aid in initiating and maintaining sleep.

However, it’s essential to remember that Xanax is not typically prescribed solely for sleep problems. It’s primarily indicated for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. While it can be effective in promoting sleep in the short term, it’s not recommended for long-term use as a sleep aid due to the risk of dependence, tolerance, and other potential side effects.

So, should you consider taking Xanax as a remedy for sleep challenges? Let’s talk about this next!

Should I Take Xanax Before Bed?

No, if it’s not prescribed by your doctor. If you have been prescribed Xanax for anxiety or panic disorder, and if your healthcare provider has recommended taking it before bed to help manage symptoms that may interfere with sleep, then it may be appropriate to take it as directed. However, it's crucial to follow your healthcare provider's instructions carefully and not to exceed the prescribed dosage.

Using Xanax as a sleep aid on your own, without medical supervision, is not recommended. Xanax can be habit-forming, and using it without a prescription or in ways other than prescribed can lead to dependence, tolerance, and other potential risks.

Next, let’s consider the advantages and disadvantages of using xanax as a sleep aid.

Pros And Cons Of Using Xanax For Sleep

Pros And Cons Of Using Xanax For Sleep

Here are several benefits and downsides of using Xanax for sleep:


1. Short-term relief: Xanax can provide short-term relief from insomnia by promoting relaxation and sedation, helping you fall asleep faster.

2. Reduction of anxiety-related insomnia: For sleepers with anxiety disorders or panic attacks, Xanax can alleviate anxiety symptoms that may contribute to sleep difficulties.

3. Rapid onset of action: Xanax has a relatively fast onset of action, typically within 30 to 60 minutes after ingestion, which may be beneficial for those needing immediate relief from sleep disturbances.

Improved sleep quality: By reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation, Xanax may lead to improved sleep quality for some individuals, resulting in feeling more rested upon waking.


1. Risk of dependence and addiction: Xanax has a high potential for dependence and addiction, especially with long-term use or higher doses. This can lead to withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation and a need for increasing doses to achieve the same effect.

2. Tolerance: Continued use of Xanax may lead to tolerance, where higher doses are required to achieve the same sedative effects, increasing the risk of dependence and addiction.

3. Side effects: Common side effects of Xanax include drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, and impaired coordination, which may persist into the next day and affect daytime functioning.

4. Interactions with other substances: Xanax can interact with other substances, such as alcohol and certain medications, leading to heightened sedation, respiratory depression, and other adverse effects.

5. Memory and cognitive impairment: Long-term use of Xanax may impair memory and cognitive function, affecting concentration, attention, and overall cognitive performance.

6. Rebound insomnia: Abrupt discontinuation of Xanax or a reduction in dosage can lead to rebound insomnia, where sleep disturbances worsen temporarily, making it challenging to stop using the medication safely.

7. Potential for overdose: Xanax can cause respiratory depression and overdose, particularly when combined with other central nervous system depressants or taken in excessive amounts.

So, while Xanax may provide short-term relief from sleep disturbances, its risks and potential for dependence and addiction make it less suitable as a long-term solution for managing sleep problems. It's essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully and discuss with a healthcare provider to explore safer and more sustainable alternatives for addressing sleep difficulties.

Next, let’s look at whether or not Xanax can actually worsen your sleep challenges by causing insomnia!

Can Xanax Cause Insomnia?

While Xanax (alprazolam) is primarily prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders, paradoxically, it can sometimes worsen sleep disturbances or contribute to insomnia. Here’s how:

1. Rebound insomnia: Like we briefly mentioned above, when you stop taking Xanax abruptly or reduce your dosage, you may experience rebound insomnia as a withdrawal symptom. This rebound effect can lead to temporary worsening of sleep disturbances, making it challenging to discontinue the medication safely.

2. Changes in sleep architecture: Xanax can disrupt normal sleep architecture, leading to alterations in sleep stages and patterns. This disruption may result in fragmented sleep, frequent awakenings, and overall poorer sleep quality.

3. Tolerance: With prolonged use, you may develop tolerance to the sedative effects of Xanax. As a result, you may require higher doses to achieve the same level of sedation, which can lead to increased daytime drowsiness and difficulty falling or staying asleep

4. Daytime sedation: Xanax’s sedative effects can persist into the next day, causing daytime drowsiness, lethargy, and impaired cognitive function. These symptoms may interfere with daily activities and contribute to a cycle of poor sleep at night and daytime sleepiness.

5. Interactions with other medications: Xanax can interact with other medications or substances, such as caffeine, alcohol, or certain antidepressants, which may disrupt sleep patterns or exacerbate insomnia.

6. Underlying anxiety: While Xanax can initially alleviate anxiety symptoms that may contribute to sleep difficulties, its short duration of action may result in rebound anxiety as it wears off, potentially leading to sleep disturbances.

Next, let’s look at how long the effect of Xanax typically lasts, especially when you use it as a means to induce sleepiness.

How Long Does Xanax Make You Sleep?

The duration of sleep induced by Xanax (alprazolam) can vary depending on factors such as individual metabolism, dosage, and tolerance. Xanax has a relatively short half-life, typically ranging from 6 to 12 hours in most sleepers. This means that it takes about that amount of time for half of the drug to be eliminated from the body.

In general, Xanax may help you fall asleep relatively quickly after taking it, typically within 30 to 60 minutes, due to its fast onset of action. The sedative effects of Xanax may last for several hours, providing relief from anxiety and promoting relaxation conducive to sleep. Despite this, it’s crucial to remember that Xanax is not typically prescribed as a long-term sleep aid due to concerns about dependence, tolerance, and other potential risks.

Instead of using Xanax for sleep, consider the tips we share in the next section on how to naturally help your body prepare for sleep every night.

How Long Does Xanax Make You Sleep?

Natural Remedies For Sleep

Here are natural alternatives to try before considering prescriptions like Xanax for sleep:

1. Establish a consistent sleep schedule: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends, to regulate your body’s internal clock and improve sleep quality.

2. Create a relaxing bedtime routine: Engage in calming activities before bedtime, such as reading, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation, to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down.

3. Limit exposure to screens: Avoid electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, at least an hour before bedtime, as the blue light emitted from screens can interfere with your body's natural sleep-wake cycle.

4. Create a comfortable sleep environment: Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep by keeping it cool, dark, and quiet. Consider using blackout curtains, white noise machines, eye masks, or earplugs to block out disturbances.

5. Limit caffeine and alcohol intake: Avoid consuming caffeine and alcohol, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime, as they can disrupt sleep patterns and contribute to sleep disturbances.

6. Regular exercise: Engage in regular physical activity during the day, but avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime, as it can be stimulating and make it harder to fall asleep. Gentle exercises like yoga or stretching can be beneficial for promoting relaxation.

7. Healthy diet: Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, and avoid heavy meals, spicy foods, and large amounts of liquid close to bedtime, which can cause discomfort and disrupt sleep.

8. Use a weighted blanket: Weighted blankets like our Cotton Napper have been shown to provide deep pressure stimulation, which can promote feelings of calmness and relaxation, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep quality. The gentle pressure of our Napper mimics the sensation of being hugged, helping to soothe your nervous system and promote better sleep.

9. Herbal remedies: Certain herbs, such as chamomile, valerian root, and lavender, have been traditionally used to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. Consider drinking chamomile tea or using aromatherapy with lavender essential oil to help induce sleepiness.

If you continue to experience sleep difficulties despite trying these natural remedies, consult a healthcare provider.

In the next section, we list some tell-tale signs indicating that you need to speak to a doctor about your sleep problems, and any questions you may have about using xanax as a sleep aid.

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When To See A Doctor

Here are some signs that indicate it’s time to see a doctor regarding your sleep problems:

1. Chronic insomnia: If you consistently have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early and it persists for more than a few weeks, seek medical advice.

2. Daytime sleepiness: Excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, or difficulty staying awake during the day can be signs of an underlying sleep disorder or other medical condition that requires evaluation.

3. Snoring or breathing problems during sleep: Loud snoring, gasping, choking, or pauses in breathing during sleep may be symptoms of sleep apnea or other sleep-related breathing disorders that warrant medical attention.

4. Restless legs syndrome (RLS) or periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD): If you experience uncomfortable sensations in your legs or an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, especially at night, it's essential to discuss these symptoms with a doctor.

5. Changes in sleep patterns: Significant changes in your sleep patterns, such as insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness), should be evaluated by a healthcare provider to identify potential underlying causes.

6. Mood changes: Sleep disturbances can contribute to mood changes, irritability, anxiety, or depression. If you’re experiencing persistent mood changes or emotional distress related to your sleep problems, seek support from a healthcare professional.

7. Underlying medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as chronic pain, heart disease, diabetes, or neurological disorders, can affect sleep quality and may require management by a healthcare provider.

8. Medication side effects: If you suspect that your sleep problems may be related to medications you’re taking, discuss this with your doctor, as they may need to adjust your medication regimen or explore alternative treatments.

9. Lifestyle factors: If you’ve made changes to your sleep habits, such as adopting a healthier sleep routine, and are still experiencing sleep difficulties, consult a doctor for further evaluation and guidance.


While Xanax may offer short-term relief for sleep disturbances, its risks of dependence, tolerance, and side effects make it less suitable for long-term use as a sleep aid. It’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons carefully and consult with a healthcare provider to explore safer alternatives for managing sleep problems.