Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to being able to be at your best the next day.
So when you find yourself still counting sheep well into the late hours of the night repeatedly, it’s understandable if you start to feel like you’d try anything if it meant you’d fall asleep. For many, this means turning to their medicine cabinet for some over-the-counter relief like Benadryl or a Unisom Sleep Tablet.
But what happens if those drug store options still don’t help you get the shuteye you need to truly feel rested in the morning?
In some cases, your doctor may recommend trying a Hydroxyzine prescription as a temporary solution to help you get your sleep back on track.
How Does Hydroxyzine Help You Sleep?
Hydroxyzine is a prescription antihistamine, a drug that’s meant to relieve itchiness and rashes resulting from an allergic reaction.
But similar to over-the-counter versions like Benadryl, it has a drowsy side effect which can help you fall asleep faster.
When histamine is released, it can send wake up signals to your body which in turn prevents you from going to sleep. Antihistamines, on the other hand, calm your central nervous system leaving a sedative effect that helps you to drift off more quickly.
How Is Hydroxyzine Dosed?
Like all prescription medications, your doctor will determine what dose is right for you. But in most cases, you’ll be prescribed between 10-50mg.
Your doctor may opt to start you off at a lower dose to help mitigate side effects and increase the dosage if needed. Regardless of the dose provided to you, be sure to take your prescription exactly as written by your doctor. And never change the dose without first consulting with your doctor.
When used for insomnia relief, Hydroxyzine should be taken once a day shortly before you head to bed. Be sure to only take your prescription if you have at least 7 hours to sleep and you don’t need to drive or do anything else that requires your attention for the rest of the day.
How Do I Know What Dosage Is Right For Me?
To understand what dose of Hydroxyzine is best for you, talk with your doctor.
At your appointment, be sure to come prepared with your full medical history and a complete list of all medications, including supplements, you’re currently taking.
On a final note, it’s important to point out that Hydroxyzine is meant for short-term relief. Studies have shown that taking Hydroxyzine long-term is not an effective treatment for insomnia and in some cases can make sleeplessness and related problems even worse.
If your symptoms continue even after taking your prescription, you’ll need to discuss an alternative option with your doctor.
Reviewed by Dr. Alex Dimitriu
Dr. Alex Dimitriu is a Stanford-trained physician with dual board certification in psychiatry and sleep medicine. The included content is not intended to replace medical advice. Always be sure to discuss any prescription medications with your doctor.