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Beta-Blockers: How Can These Common Medications Impact Your Sleep?

What are Beta-Blockers?

Beta-blockers are a class of medication used to treat a variety of heart and blood pressure conditions including: heart failure, high blood pressure, angina, atrial fibrillation, and others.

Beta-blockers are prescribed for these conditions because they regulate the receptors that control heart rate. Decreasing your heart rate in these conditions works to improve your blood pressure while also decreasing the amount of work your heart has to do on a daily basis.

Although this is extremely helpful for the conditions mentioned above, the receptors beta-blockers block are also located in the brain, specifically in the pineal gland that controls the release of melatonin.


Melatonin is a hormone closely tied to sleep. It is released from the pineal gland in the brain.

The release of melatonin is controlled by a variety of factors including: your sleep-wake cycle, the time that you get up, the time you go to bed, and the amount of light you are exposed to.

On a normal day, a person’s melatonin levels will be low during the day (when they are typically awake, as well as when it is brightest) and will gradually climb in the evening. The melatonin levels will stay elevated throughout the night and will drop as the sun rises.

What Does This Mean For Me?

Individuals who take beta-blockers can have less melatonin than needed, therefore making it difficult to sleep.

Many beta-blockers can decrease the amount of melatonin by up to 80% (with the exception of carvedilol and Bystolic®).

A clinical study conducted with patients taking beta-blockers showed significant improvement in people’s quality of sleep when they continually took a 2.5mg melatonin supplement one hour prior to going to sleep.

The results from taking this supplement showed that patients fell sleep approximately 10 minutes faster and progressed into deeper stages of sleep more quickly.

No adverse reactions were seen from taking this melatonin supplement.

These improvements began after 1 week of taking the supplement and lasted for up to two weeks after individuals stopped taking it.

Is a MELATONIN SUPPLEMENT Something I Should Consider Taking?

For individuals who take beta-blockers and experience trouble sleeping, taking extra melatonin could help improve their quality of sleep.

If you are curious if melatonin could help you, please stop by Sona Pharmacy (or call (828) 298-3636) and speak with one of our pharmacists.

We are more than happy to help talk with you to determine the best options for your personal needs!




What is melatonin? Accessed online 8/16/18.

Frank A.J.L. Scheer et al. Repeated Melatonin Supplementation Improves Sleep in Hypertensive Patients Treated with Beta-Blockers: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Sleep. Oct. 2012 35(10):1395-1402. Accessed online 8/16/18.

Stoschitzky, A. Sakotnik, P. Lercher, R. Zweiker, R. Maier, P. Liebmann, W. Lindner. Influence of beta-blockers on melatonin release. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1999 55:111-115. Accessed online 8/16/18.