Sleep and Psychotropic Drugs

Dieter Riemann and Christoph Nissen

in The Oxford Handbook of Sleep and Sleep Disorders

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780195376203
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Sleep and Psychotropic Drugs

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The current chapter provides a critical update on the effects of relevant psychotropic substances on sleep. Reviewed substances comprise over-the-counter sleep medications, synthetic drugs for insomnia, recreational drugs that affect sleep–wake behavior, and other CNS active drugs, such as stimulants, antiepileptics, or pain medication. For each class of substances, a short description of the pharmacological properties is given, followed by a review of its effects on sleep as well as of potential risks and side effects. In an evidence-based approach, meta-analyses will be referred to where available. Although significant progress has been made over the past decades in understanding the fundamentals of sleep–wake regulation and in treating sleep disturbances, future developments are needed to better meet the individual needs of patients with disordered sleep.

Keywords: Sleep; insomnia; medication; benzodiazepines; GABA receptor agonists; antidepressants; stimulants

Article.  21215 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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