Dr Oz: Surprising Reason You’re Up At Night
Dr Oz recalled the story of The Princess and the Pea when he heard about the sneaky stimulant that can be hiding in our medicine cabinets: Caffeine Pain Medication can cause insomnia.
Sleep expert Dr Carol Ash said that what most of us do not know is that most pain relievers contain caffeine, especially when they are designed to target headaches. She added that most pain relievers combine acetaminophen, ibuprofen and caffeine to give you symptom relief.
Dr Oz: Caffeine Pain Medication
Why add caffeine to medicine? Dr Ash said that it makes pain relievers 40% more effective at relieving pain faster. One woman from the audience said she takes pain relievers at night for headaches.
How does this work in our medications? Caffeine makes the body absorb medication more readily. That could help you clear up those headache symptoms, but the tradeoff means you may be up at night when you don’t want to be.
Dr Oz: Caffeine Disrupts Sleep
Some sleep disorders will cause you to fall asleep and then wake up later on. But caffeine keeps you from ever getting to sleep in the first place! That’s due to an increase of adrenaline, causing jitters and insomnia, plus headaches and racing heart, as well as some nighttime bathroom trips.
We have heard before that caffeine can be disruptive to sleep even if you have coffee later in the day. Dr Oz compared the caffeine content to extra strength pain reliever, finding that there was 30% more in the medication!
You wouldn’t drink coffee before bedtime, so you probably don’t want to take these pills at night, as Doctor Oz pointed out.
Dr Oz: Caffeine-Free Pain Medications
How can you avoid running into this nighttime complication? Dr Carol Ash suggested shopping for pain medications containing 100% Ibuprofen or Aspirin, and look for products with “caffeine-free” on the label.
But if you love your headache medicine and don’t want to switch, what can you do for relief? Try taking the medicine six hours before going to bed, to prevent it from keeping you up. Try eating carbohydrates with your pill to help your brain get more tryptophan so you can get to sleep.
Try alternating caffeinated and non-caffeinated medications. Sleep can be an important factor in helping you get healthy faster.