Tramadol is a synthetic opioid that acts in the central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain. Even when used as prescribed, tramadol can cause side effects, including disturbances in sleep patterns. Like other opioids, tramadol can make you tired, lightheaded, dizzy, and even sleepy. These are relatively common effects of tramadol. Because of this, it’s not recommended to drive or perform machinery immediately after taking tramadol.
Does Tramadol Make You Sleepy or Awake?
While the side effects of tramadol can make you sleepy and tired, tramadol use is more associated with insomnia. In a short study, people taking tramadol exhibit shorter stage 2 sleep and significantly shorter stage 4 sleep. Tramadol may also cause sleep-related problems such as sleep apnea, leading to sleep disturbances and changing healthy sleeping patterns.
Although tramadol is a depressant, mainly calming and relaxing effects, higher doses can also produce euphoric feelings. People who abuse tramadol or mix it with other substances can make tramadol act as a stimulant, having mild euphoric effects comparable to heroin.
What Are The Side Effects of Tramadol
Some people may experience adverse side effects while taking tramadol. These side effects can occur due to interactions with other medications or not taking the medicines according to prescription instructions. The most common side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty concentrating
How Long Do Tramadol Side Effects Last
Generally, tramadol side effects occur when you first introduce the substance to the system. As your body adjusts to the medicine, many of these side effects may go away. If side effects continue or become too bothersome, you should talk with your primary doctor to discuss your symptoms.
Long-term side effects of tramadol use, such as dependence, difficulty sleeping, muscle spasms, stomachaches, and serotonin syndrome, can be challenging to manage. Without proper medical attention, long-term side effects of continued tramadol misuse can last for years. In this case, speaking with your doctor about your tolerance and dependence on tramadol may be helpful. Some people might need to seek a medical detox program to safely and comfortably withdraw from tramadol without experiencing severe withdrawal effects.
Why Does Tramadol Affect Sleep
Although the effects of analgesic medications on sleep aren’t fully understood, the short-term effects of tramadol on sleep are being discovered. In a small study, participants received a single oral dose of tramadol. During the study, researchers found that lower doses of tramadol kept participants awake in the first hour. However, higher doses promoted sleep at first but induced wakefulness later, disturbing participants’ night sleep.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many studies looking at the connection between tramadol and sleep disturbances to understand what’s happening. It’s known that opioids disrupt sleep patterns by blocking access to rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep and the deeper restorative stages of sleep.
Frequently Asked Questions While Taking Tramadol
While taking tramadol, most patients have questions about what they can and cannot do. Here are some of the most common precautions while taking tramadol.
Can I drink while taking tramadol? No. Since tramadol and alcohol are both central nervous system depressants, combining these substances dramatically increases the risk of overdose. Extreme drowsiness, respiratory depression, and even death can occur. Other medications to avoid include other opioids, benzodiazepines, tranquilizers, antipsychotics, and muscle relaxants.
How long after taking tramadol can I drive? Tramadol affects everyone very differently. You should avoid driving, operating machinery, or engaging in activities that require mental alertness after taking tramadol. Because tramadol causes drowsiness and sleepiness, you should avoid these activities after taking it until you know how your body reacts to the drug.
Is tramadol addictive? Yes. Even when used as prescribed, tramadol is a habit-forming synthetic opioid medication that’s been linked to abuse and addiction. If you have a history of mental health disorders or substance use disorders, you should let your doctor know. Ask for non-opioid pain medicine that has less risk for addiction.
Tramadol can make you feel sleepy after taking it. Drowsiness and sleepiness are common side effects about 25% of tramadol users experience. However, long-term use of tramadol can affect your sleep patterns. While the medication makes you sleepy and drowsy during the date, it tends to disrupt your REM sleep stage and keep you awake at night, potentially causing insomnia.
If you experience any side effects while on tramadol, consult your doctor to find the root cause. Interactions with other medications, misuse, or dosage can be contributing to the side effects. Discuss any questions about tramadol with your healthcare provider to determine if it’s the right medication for your symptoms.