When life throws us curveballs, falling asleep can become an elusive luxury. Our minds become battlefields of worries and anxieties, keeping us tossing and turning long after the night should have claimed us. Sometimes, even the soothing sounds of nature or a comforting cup of tea can’t calm our racing thoughts. In such cases, turning to sleep medication is a viable option. When used responsibly, these medications help us achieve the restful slumber we need to face the day refreshed and energized.
Two common sleep medications prescribed to adults struggling with sleep issues are hydroxyzine and Xanax. In this hydroxyzine vs. Xanax comparison, we’ll delve into the details of both medications, exploring their similarities and differences to help you make an informed decision about which one might be right for you.
How Does Hydroxyzine Work?
Doctors prescribe hydroxyzine for various conditions, including anxiety, allergies, and itching. It belongs to a class of drugs known as antihistamines.
Hydroxyzine’s ability to promote sleep is attributed to its multifaceted actions, but the medication primarily works by blocking histamine receptors in the brain. Histamines are chemical messengers that play an important role in managing allergic reactions and sleep-wake cycles. Hydroxyzine blocks these receptors to reduce wakefulness, helping you relax and achieve the desired state of slumber.
Who Can Take Hydroxyzine?
Hydroxyzine is a versatile medication that your doctor might prescribe for various conditions, depending on your medical needs. It’s commonly recommended for:
Hydroxyzine reaches its peak effectiveness approximately 30–60 minutes after you take it, and its effect lasts for 4–6 hours, helping you get the rest you need. The dosages available for hydroxyzine are:
- 10 mg
- 25 mg
- 50 mg
- 100 mg
You should only use hydroxyzine under the guidance of a healthcare professional. They will determine the appropriate dosage and duration of your treatment based on your specific needs and medical history. The usual dosing for adults is 50 to 100 mg, taken over up to four times per day.
Source: Andrea Piacquadio
Side Effects of Hydroxyzine
Like any medication, hydroxyzine comes with potential side effects. Common side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
In rare cases, hydroxyzine may cause more serious side effects, such as severe dizziness and changes in heart rhythm. These effects are more pronounced when higher doses are used. If you experience allergy symptoms such as itching or hives, seek immediate medical attention.
How Does Xanax Work?
Xanax, a brand name for the drug alprazolam, is a medication commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks. It belongs to a class of medications known as benzodiazepines.
Xanax primarily acts on the central nervous system by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is a natural calming agent in the brain that helps regulate anxiety and stress, and Xanax binds to specific receptors in the brain to boost GABA and promote a sense of relaxation. This helps alleviate anxiety and panic symptoms, and the resulting state of calmness helps you relax and fall asleep more easily.
Who Can Take Xanax?
Xanax is effective in addressing a range of conditions, and it’s commonly prescribed for those with:
Xanax can be taken in doses ranging from 0.25 mg to 2 mg up to three times per day. However, due to its potential for dependency and withdrawal, you should only use Xanax as a short-term relief from anxiety and sleeplessness and not as a long-term solution. The dosages available for Xanax are:
- 0.25 mg
- 0.5 mg
- 1 mg
- 2 mg
Side Effects of Xanax
Like many medications, Xanax can lead to potential side effects. Common side effects of Xanax use include:
- Changes in weight
- Addiction (dependency)
- Dry mouth
While Xanax is classified as a Schedule IV drug, which indicates a lower risk of dependency, the likelihood of addiction increases with prolonged use and high-dose administration. Suddenly discontinuing Xanax after prolonged use may result in withdrawal symptoms such as:
Patients who experience severe or persistent side effects should consult their healthcare provider for dose adjustment or further advice.
Xanax vs. Hydroxyzine—Key Facts
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the two medications to highlight their key differences:
Hydroxyzine vs. Xanax for Sleep—Which One Is Better?
When deciding between hydroxyzine and Xanax for improving sleep, it’s important to consider your individual needs and consult your doctor. To determine the most appropriate option for your sleep-related concerns, your doctor will consider the following:
- Your medical conditions
- Your medical history
- Any risks you have for drug dependence
- Other medications, OTC medicines, or supplements that you take
Each medication offers unique characteristics. Often used for its sedative properties, hydroxyzine is beneficial for sleep, particularly when anxiety or itching is interfering with your rest. It’s generally non-addictive, making it the better choice if you’re concerned about developing dependence.
Xanax is effective at inducing sleep and managing anxiety, but it comes with a higher potential for dependence and withdrawal with prolonged use. Doctors typically prescribe it for short-term relief from anxiety and sleep disturbances, and its sedative effects are more immediate.
If you’re seeking professional assistance for insomnia and sleep-related issues, Kick offers an outstanding solution. Kick’s team of experienced experts can provide personalized insights and strategies to help you address underlying sleep issues.
Sleep Well, Be Well With Kick
While a visit to a general practitioner is a helpful step, seeking guidance from a sleep specialist is the ideal approach for eliminating sleep issues. The challenge, however, lies in the scarcity of these specialists—sleep doctors make up less than 1% of the healthcare provider workforce. When you’re grappling with sleep issues and the exhaustion they cause, the waiting period to consult a specialist can seem interminable.
For swift and effective support, consider turning to Kick, a performance medicine clinic that links you with experienced professionals dedicated to helping you attain restorative and restful sleep. With Kick, you’ll get access to timely assistance and expertise, ensuring your sleep concerns are addressed promptly. We offer a variety of services, including:
- Personalized consultations with sleep experts—Our sleep experts conduct a comprehensive assessment of your sleep habits and patterns to identify the root causes of your sleep problems. If our specialist determines that we can’t provide proper treatment for your condition, you won’t be charged for the consultation as part of our Doctor Guarantee policy
- Customized treatment plans—Based on our initial assessment, we will develop a personalized treatment plan that may include lifestyle modifications, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and trial medication
- Ongoing support and guidance—Our expert doctors provide ongoing support and guidance to help you implement your treatment plan and achieve long-term sleep improvements
Kick is a convenient and affordable way to access expert sleep care. Our services are available online and via video chat, so you can get help from the comfort of your own home.
Get Started With Kick Today
Created by a renowned sleep specialist from Stanford, Kick’s program represents a groundbreaking approach to addressing sleep-related problems, ushering in a new era in sleep care. Here’s how it works:
- Navigate to our sign-up page
- Complete the essential details and the medical form to provide us with insights into your existing concerns, health condition, lifestyle, and medical background
- Decide whether you prefer to receive your prescribed medications via mail delivery or opt for collection from a nearby pharmacy
- Share your shipping address for delivery
With exceptional Trustpilot reviews, Kick has established a history of excellence. Don’t let sleep troubles hold you back—take the initial step toward improved sleep with Kick and begin to cherish your mornings!
Featured image source: Andrea Piacquadio