Sleep is an essential function that allows your body and mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you wake up. Healthy sleep also helps the body remain healthy and stave off diseases. Without enough sleep, the brain cannot function properly.
Sleep affects pain, you may have noticed that when you sleep poorly and are tired your pain tends to be worse. Research shows that one of the most important predictors for pain intensity is the number of hours slept the night before. If you sleep poorly, your pain will likely be worse the next day.
However, many medications both prescription and over-the-counter drugs can affect your sleep routine and make it impossible for you to have a refreshing sleep.
What is tramadol?
Tramadol is a prescription drug that’s available as an immediate-release and extended-release tablet. Tramadol also comes as an extended-release oral capsule. Immediate-release drugs are released into the body right away. Extended-release drugs are released into the body slowly over time. Tramadol is a controlled substance. This means it can only be used with a doctor’s close supervision.
Both tramadol oral tablets are also available as generic drugs. The immediate-release tablet is also available as the brand-name drug Ultram. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in all strengths or forms as the brand-name drug.
How tramadol works
Tramadol belongs to a group of medications called opioid analgesics. It is used to manage moderate to moderately severe pain for people who need several days or more of pain control. It decreases pain by acting on the central nervous system.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
How is tramadol taken?
Tramadol comes as a tablet, a solution (liquid), an extended-release (long-acting) tablet, and an extended-release (long-acting) capsule to take by mouth. The regular tablet and solution are taken usually with or without food every 4 to 6 hours as needed. The extended-release tablet and extended-release capsule should be taken once a day. Take the extended-release tablet and the extended-release capsule at about the same time of day every day. If you are taking the extended-release capsule, you may take it with or without food. If you are taking the extended-release tablet, you should either always take it with food or always take it without food. Take tramadol exactly as directed. Do not take more medication as a single dose or take more doses per day than prescribed by your doctor. Taking more tramadol than prescribed by your doctor or in a way that is not recommended may cause serious side effects or death.
Your doctor may start you on a low dose of tramadol and gradually increase the amount of medication you take, not more often than every 3 days if you are taking the solution, regular tablets or orally disintegrating tablets or every 5 days if you are taking the extended-release tablets or extended-release capsules.
If you are taking the solution, use an oral syringe or measuring spoon or cup to measure the correct amount of liquid needed for each dose. Do not use a regular household spoon to measure your dose. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you need help getting or using a measuring device,
Do not stop taking tramadol without talking to your doctor. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually. If you suddenly stop taking tramadol, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as nervousness; panic; sweating; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; runny nose, sneezing, or cough; pain; hair standing on end; chills; nausea; uncontrollable shaking of a part of your body; diarrhea; or rarely, hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist).
Does Tramadol Make You Sleepy Or Awake?
Studies have shown that tramadol can make you sleepy but insomnia (trouble falling and/or staying asleep) is a more common side effect especially during withdrawal. Sedation is one of the most common side effects, affecting 16% to 25% of patients taking tramadol according to research.
Most painkillers cause severe fatigue and sedation. Tramadol disrupts normal sleep cycles even when taken as prescribed – the individual who is taking the drug is more liable to fall asleep during the day and stay awake at night. Tramadol can also make you dizzy or lightheaded.
What other side effects can I expect while taking tramadol?
Tramadol may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
• changes in mood
• dry mouth
• heartburn or indigestion
• muscle tightness
• uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
• agitation, hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist), fever, sweating, confusion, fast heartbeat, shivering, severe muscle stiffness or twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
• changes in heartbeat
• difficulty swallowing or breathing
• hunger, headache, sweating, shaking of a part of your body that you cannot control, irritability, or difficulty concentrating
• loss of consciousness
• nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion, loss of energy, drowsiness, fatigue, restlessness, irritability, muscle weakness, spasms or cramps
• nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, or dizziness
• swelling of the eyes, face, throat, tongue, lips, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
Tramadol may cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.