Diazepam And Sleep: It Can Be Use For Sleep?
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Diazepam And Sleep: It Can Be Use For Sleep?

Diazepam works for different conditions. Apart from this, it has a off-label use as well. Find out will it help for sleep.

June 02, 2022
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Post Highlights

Do you have trouble sleeping? Do you find difficulty concentrating, irritability, frequent headaches, incomplete sleep cycle or taking several hours to sleep? These signs and symptoms are taken as evidence of insomnia. Insomnia can be chronic, acute, comorbid, onset or maintenance insomnia. It can occur due to various factors, including stress, improper sleep habits, late eating, jet lag, mental health disorder etc.

Although using Diazepam (Valium) for sleeplessness is an off label prescription sleeping tablet, the mechanism of benzos on the central nervous system makes it a beneficial short treatment for insomnia. We can say that sleep is the ultimate medicine for Physical and mental conditions up to an extent. It is almost a peaceful escape from the situation that calms down your nerves and relaxes your mind.

But I wonder if sleeplessness is a matter of concern! For this, let us first understand the risks associated with insomnia.

The Close Connection Between Anxiety And Insomnia

Anxiety is a built-up fear; our subconscious mind continuously processes different thoughts while awake and in sleep. It plays a vital role in anxiety, with anxiety and nervousness later leading to insomnia. As your brain is in the continuous procedure of fear, upset, worry and overthinking, it can result in sleep disorders. It's like anxiety can be said as the primary mental reason for insomnia. So, let's see how Diazepam being benzo, is used as medicine for insomnia.

The Off Label Story Of Diazepam On Insomnia

Diazepam is an anti-anxiety drug and seizure medicine used to deal with mental conditions. If we observe through some basic logic, we can get to know why it is used for insomnia.

The sedative and hypnotic effects of  Diazepam and slowing down of CNS neurotransmitters induce sleep as an aftereffect to calm down and relax from the condition. Benzos are highly sedative; thus, they can be used to generate rest. It is as simple as using some foods like warm milk or chamomile tea.

The main reason behind this doubt is that we don't consider medicine an earthly form; even the chemical we build is literally from nature; we improvise it.

Risks Associated With Insomnia And Diazepam For Sleep

Insomnia can affect the overall quality of life and makes it hard for day-to-day tasks. It is estimated that 36% of people suffer from wakefulness, hindering daily functioning, low performance, less energy, irritable/ sad mood, hard to concentrating and affect memory, judgment and longevity.

According to the National Institute of health findings, insomnia causes severe risks to overall health. It may result in obesity in adults and children, anxiety, cardiovascular disease and hypertension, diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance. There are specific measures to avoid or cure these risks, lifestyle changes, and pharmacotherapy can manage. Except for the above options, medications can be a preferable option to cure insomnia.

Depending on the nature of insomnia, there can be prescribed various medications. Still, if you have anxiety-related insomnia or your sleep is getting affected due to severe anxiety, then Diazepam is prescribed as medication for sleep. Diazepam for sleep can be an off-label use to keep its use at a minimal level. However, to know the relation between Diazepam and rest, we can get ahead in detail.

Diazepam is a short term treatment; using it for the long term can elicit severe side effects like seizures, Anxiety, headache, sleeplessness, memory loss, and extreme exhaustion. It is better to use it as a short treatment and under supervision.
Diazepam creates sedative effects that induce sleep; staying awake can create hassles on your nervous system as you force yourself to stay awake. You can feel hallucinations, headaches, and side effects associated with it.
Diazepam belongs to the benzodiazepine drug class, identified as class c drugs or schedule 3 /4 drugs. Selling such substances without a license or prescription can be illegal.

Diazepam And Sleep - A Different Use Of Benzodiazepine

Diazepam (brand name Valium) is a prescription-only benzodiazepine medication used to treat muscle spasms, seizures and anxiety and thereby has a tranquillizing effect. It is used as a hypnotic in the short-term management of insomnia, as a tranquillizer and premedical and in the management of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. It is available in 2mg, 5mg and 10mg oral tablets; 2ml/5ml oral solution; 5mg and 10mg rectal tubes; and diazepam injection BP (10mg in 2ml).

This drug acts on the Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABAA) receptor in the brain by binding to it and increasing the GABA level. This slows down the action of the central nervous system, i.e. it reduces nervousness, agitation and time to fall asleep and produces a sense of calmness and relaxation. When your central nervous system is slowed down, the sleep hormones get activated, and sleep is induced. Thus the, way of Diazepam.

How Does Diazepam Help You Sleep?

Sleep is a natural state of mind characterized by reduced muscle activity and altered consciousness. The ideal sleep time required for an adult to relax is 7-9 hrs per night. Benzodiazepines are mainly used for treating insomnia. However, long-term usage of this drug is not recommended because of its potential to be addictive; there are many instances of its recreational and abusive uses.

Most common benzodiazepines for short-term treatment of insomnia include Diazepam (Valium), Ativan (lorazepam), Xanax (alprazolam) and Klonopin (clonazepam). They effectively bind to the GABA neurotransmitter in the brain, calms the nervous system and induce sleep in an individual, helping alleviate insomnia.

Diazepam For Insomnia In Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

Pregnancy is a critical phase in women's life; various changes are happening mentally and physically, and insomnia results from such changes. During pregnancy, many women face sleeplessness due to their routine, anxiety, pregnancy dreams, caffeinated foods etc. Diazepam is a good option for sleep and cannot be preferred for Pregnant women; it causes harm to prenatal and can yield withdrawal effects after birth.

While breastfeeders have difficulty sleeping due to their work-life and baby care and the baby's un-fixed constant need for milk, Diazepam released in small amounts of milk can make the baby dependent on it. So it is better to say no to Diazepam(Valium).

Side Effects Of Using Diazepam For Sleep

Diazepam can affect every individual differently and cause some or other side effects.

Possible side effects of Diazepam include-

  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness, lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth
  • State of confusion
  • Skin reactions such as rash, itching, redness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Gut disturbances such as vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation

Who Can And Cannot Take Diazepam For Sleep?

Diazepam is prescribed for adults and children in case of anxiety, convulsions, seizures, wakefulness and muscle spasm. Its lower dose is recommended for children or older people with extra monitoring. However, this drug is contraindicated for people suffering from some or other health conditions to avoid adverse or harmful effects. These include:

  • Sleep apnoea syndrome, where breathing is interrupted or stopped during sleep
  • Myasthenia gravis characterized by muscle weakness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Hepatic or renal problems
  • Hypersensitivity to benzodiazepines
  • Long-term psychotic illness
  • Alcohol or drug abuse

Can Diazepam Affect Your Sleep?

Valium works by binding on the neurotransmitter called GABA; whenever we consume valium, it slows down the process of sleep. Valium not only helps you sleep but also changes your sleep pattern, and if you become dependent on it for rest, it can destroy your sleep cycle.

After the effect of the first dose, the second urged dose should be more powerful to induce the actions; thus, the body becomes tolerant, and you will keep filling yourself with benzos. Consume it for the shortest period possible. It's medicine, not a recreational sport.

Dosage And Administration Of Diazepam For Sleep

The dose of Diazepam varies from individual depending on the individual's age and other health conditions to avoid any adverse effects. It is thus advised to buy Diazepam with a doctor's prescription.

The regular dose for Diazepam is-

  • Anxiety & sleep - 2mg to be taken a day thrice
  • Anxiety-related insomnia- 5mg-15mg to be taken once at bedtime

The concerned doctor can alter these doses depending on the real-time factors and after monitoring the drug's effect on the individual and his conditions regarding his sleep cycle.

In case any regular dose of Diazepam is missed, it is advised not to double the dose to make up for the missed dose.

Also, please do not stop taking Diazepam on your own, as it would lead to withdrawal effects, including muscle pain, headache, and feeling anxious or restless. The doctor shall gradually decrease the dose over the period and ask to stop as per the health condition.

Final Words From Druggist

Sleeplessness and wakefulness can have adverse impacts on daily life and mental health. It can cause stress, depression, cardiac disorder, and loss of concentration. Anxiety is the primary stage or acts as an ignitor for insomnia which can lead to harmful effects on your mental health and physical health.

A benzodiazepine medication such as Diazepam is used effectively for the short-term treatment of insomnia. Though benzo, their sleepy effect, makes it a choice for insomnia. However, its long-term usage can cause dependence and addiction leading to a life-threatening impact on health. Other benzodiazepines which are used to treat sleep disorders include Ativan (lorazepam), Xanax (alprazolam) and Klonopin (clonazepam).

These should be taken in a prescribed manner and should be stopped only after consultation with the doctor. However, in addition to pharmacotherapy, lifestyle and behavioural changes, cognitive behavioural changes can help manage sleeplessness or insomnia.