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Never Swallow This After 6pm, Says Doctor

Avoid these five medications and supplements before bedtime if you want a good night's sleep. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

When it comes to medications and supplements, the time of day you take them can make a big difference between a good night's sleep and tossing and turning for hours. Some meds can cause insomnia and swallowing them before bedtime will cost you a sleepless night. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Jacob Hascalovici MD, PhD as the Clearing Chief Medical Officer who shares which pills to avoid at night and why. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


You Should Always Talk to your Physician Before Taking Medications and Supplements


Dr. Hascalovici tells us, "Certain medications and supplements can make you sleepier, more anxious, or more awake, and so on. That's why it's important to check with your doctor about the best time of day to take these medications and supplements. It's also a good idea to ask whether or not the combination of things you're taking might have any specific impacts."



Woman is holding a mobile phone and a bottle of pills

Dr. Hascalovici says, "Often hailed as a supplement for anxiety and stress management, ashwagandha reportedly helps some patients with inflammation, pain control, and sleep. For others, however, it may contribute to insomnia, as it can make people feel more alert, focused, and energetic. The research on ashwagandha's properties is still ongoing. Be careful when you take it, and check with your medical team beforehand, as it can interfere with certain common medications. If you do take it, try to do so earlier in the day."



man stressed in bed that he can't sleep

According to Dr. Hascalovici, "Corticosteroids are often prescribed for inflammation and pain management. Some experts recommend taking the entire daily dose in the morning, both because corticosteroids can help deal with symptoms that may feel stronger earlier in the day (like pain just after waking up) and because corticosteroids can add to insomnia. That may be because they affect the way the body processes cortisol and may stimulate the body too much when they're taken close to bedtime."


Glucosamine and Chondroitin

body inflammation

 "Some people take glucosamine and chondroitin together to address joint pain and inflammation," Dr. Hascalovici says. "Both supplements are components of cartilage, and could possibly help slow cartilage deterioration in the joints. A side effect of these supplements can be insomnia though, as well as headaches that can make it tough to sleep. If you're taking these supplements, consider setting an alarm to remind yourself to take them in the morning."



taking pill

Dr. Hascalovici states, "Many of us take a multivitamin of one sort or another. They're not all the same, however. Some multis contain caffeine, green tea, or other substances that are meant to increase energy and alertness. These aren't the best to take right before bed. If you're eating a balanced, nutritious diet, you may not need multivitamins at all, or you may benefit only from certain vitamins or minerals. So if you take a multivitamin, pick high-quality ones from reputable brands and try to steer clear of ones with additives that could keep you awake (or be sure to take the multivitamin in the morning)."


SSRIs (selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors)

Shot of a young woman suffering from depression in her bedroom

Dr. Hascalovici says, "Often prescribed for depression and sometimes for pain management, selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) sometimes keep people up or wake them up in the night. For some patients, SSRIs are associated with agitation and disrupted sleep. If that is true for you, talk to your medical team and also try not to take your medication at bedtime."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather