5 Best Muscle Relaxer for Sleep

Muscle spasms occur for a variety of reasons, which may be as a result of stress from your daily activities, or an underlying health condition. This twitching of the muscles can occur anywhere, causing severe pain in the neck, back, or other parts of the body.

Most individuals tend to self-medicate using ibuprofen and other over-the-counter medicines when the pain becomes unbearable. If the pain continues, you would need to talk to your doctor, who may prescribe a muscle relaxer as an alternative solution. They may cause drowsiness, but are very effective in treating acute pain from musculoskeletal conditions like fibromyalgia, as well as multiple sclerosis.

Muscle relaxers are prescribed for the short-term treatment of pain that makes it difficult for you to get quality sleep at night. These drugs exert their sedative effects on users, slowing down the central nervous system, and allowing them to fall asleep quickly without frequent interruptions.

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Benzodiazepines (Valium, Ativan)
  • They are used to treat anxiety disorders.
  • They relieve pain from muscle spasms.
  • They induce drowsiness that makes sleep possible.
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Medium-Acting Muscle Relaxers

Cyclobenzaprine (Amrix, Flexeril, Fexmid, FlexePax Kit, FusePaq Tabradol)
  • They relax the central nervous system.
  • They are available as generic drugs that are less expensive than brand-name options.
  • They induce drowsiness that makes sleep possible.
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High Effective Muscle Relaxers

Carisoprodol (Soma)
  • It is an active ingredient in some combination-drugs.
  • They relieve pain from muscle spasms.
  • They induce drowsiness that makes sleep possible.
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Quick Acting Muscle Relaxers

Methocarbamol (Robaxin, Robaxin-750)
  • They are used to treat anxiety disorders.
  • It relieves pain from muscle strain and spasms.
  • They induce drowsiness that makes sleep possible.
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Long-Acting Muscle Relaxers

Dantrolene (Dantrium)
  • They are available in an affordable generic form.
  • They relieve pain from multiple sclerosis.
  • It enhances relaxation, improving your sleep quality.
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We will be looking at the five (5) best muscle relaxers for improving sleep quality, as well as other important considerations.

Benzodiazepines (Valium, Ativan)

 

Benzodiazepines have proven very useful in the treatment of anxiety, pain from muscle spasm, and several other conditions. Popular ones like Ativan (lorazepam) and Valium (diazepam) are highly addictive and can alter sleep cycles after prolonged use or cause insomnia when stopped.

Benzodiazepines are available in various forms, such as tablets, rectal gels, and injections. Although most of them are not designed for sleep, they are able to take the pain away, providing the calmness that is needed to fall asleep with ease. They are in category D of the FDA pregnancy ratings, meaning that these drugs are unsafe for pregnant women. Individuals suffering from severe liver diseases should also avoid taking benzodiazepines.

Pros:

  • They are used to treat anxiety disorders.
  • They relieve pain from muscle spasms.
  • They induce drowsiness that makes sleep possible.

Cons:

  • High potential for abuse.
  • They have side effects and may cause allergic reactions.
  • Interaction with alcohol may lead to fatal reactions.

Cyclobenzaprine (Amrix, Flexeril, Fexmid, FlexePax Kit, FusePaq Tabradol)

Cyclobenzaprine is another muscle relaxer that can be administered as oral tablets and extended-release capsules. They are known to relieve acute pain and stiffness of muscles in different parts of your body. Regardless of the condition, they are only intended for short-term use, which should not exceed two to three weeks.

Cyclobenzaprine, which may be sold as Fexmid, is often used along with physical therapy and could cause drowsiness that leaves you feeling sleepy. It has a couple of side effects like heartburn, constipation, blurred vision, and dry mouth, among others. Individuals with heart and liver diseases, as well as hyperthyroidism, should avoid the drug.

Cyclobenzaprine is in category B of the FDA pregnancy ratings, meaning that they are quite safe for pregnant women.

Pros:

  • They relax the central nervous system.
  • They are available as generic drugs that are less expensive than brand-name options.
  • They induce drowsiness that makes sleep possible.

Cons:

  • High doses may lead to hallucinations and seizures.
  • It has various side effects and may cause heart palpitations or trouble speaking.
  • Interaction with other drugs may lead to fatal reactions.

Carisoprodol (Soma)

Carisoprodol, which is commonly sold as Soma, relieves pain from musculoskeletal conditions to improve your quality of life. The drug is available as oral tablets and in combination with codeine or aspirin. It has high sedative effects and can be addictive, hence prolonged use is not recommended.

You should not use the drug without a doctor’s prescription, as it could be harmful to people with liver and kidney diseases, as well as blood disorders. The tablets are available in generic form and are in category C of the FDA pregnancy ratings. Carisoprodol has been found to accumulate in breastmilk in significant quantities, which may not be healthy for infants; hence, it is not recommended for pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Pros:

  • It is an active ingredient in some combination-drugs.
  • They relieve pain from muscle spasms.
  • They induce drowsiness that makes sleep possible.

Cons:

  • Withdrawal symptoms may appear after discontinuation.
  • It can lead to hives and severe allergic reactions.
  • It may lower your blood pressure.

Methocarbamol (Robaxin, Robaxin-750)

Methocarbamol is another muscle relaxer that relieves acute pain in different parts of your body. It is a prescription drug that can be administered by injection or oral tablets, and should not be taken without a doctor’s prescription.

Methocarbamol, which is commonly sold as Robaxin, may interact with alcohol and other drugs to cause undesirable effects. Endeavor to reduce your dosage after the first two to three days to ensure that you do not encounter any severe side effects. The drug is in category C of the FDA pregnancy ratings and should be taken with physical therapy and rest.

Pros:

  • They are used to treat anxiety disorders.
  • It relieves pain from muscle strain and spasms.
  • They induce drowsiness that makes sleep possible.

Cons:

  • It can trigger allergic reactions, like swelling of your throat, lips, tongue, or entire face.
  • High doses can lead to serious side effects, like Jaundice and seizures.
  • Interaction with other medications could worsen your condition.

Dantrolene (Dantrium)

Dantrolene, commonly sold as Dantrium, is used to treat muscle spasms, which may have occurred due to severe injuries and other health conditions. They are also used to alleviate acute pain after surgery and are administered as intravenous injections or oral capsules.

In its generic form, Dantrium is affordable, but should not be used without a doctor’s prescription. Prolonged use often leads to some severe side effects, including liver problems that can be life-threatening. It is known to interact with birth control pills, other muscle relaxers, herbs, and more to cause undesirable reactions. Dantrolene is also in category C of the FDA pregnancy ratings and may not be safe for nursing mothers.

Pros:

  • They are available in an affordable generic form.
  • They relieve pain from multiple sclerosis.
  • It enhances relaxation, improving your sleep quality.

Cons:

  • It has some side effects, like drooling, frequent urination, and confusion.
  • They may cause allergic reactions and liver problems.
  • Interaction with alcohol and other drugs may lead to fatal outcomes.

Key Considerations When Choosing Muscle Relaxers for Sleep

Type of sleep problem: Muscle relaxers are drugs that depress the central nervous system, ensuring that users do not feel pain from muscle spasms or other musculoskeletal conditions. Although they have a sedative effect, these drugs are often used with physical therapy and rest. They may worsen your health condition and lead to sleeplessness when misused. 

People with ulcers or liver problems should avoid muscle relaxants. You may consider using other over-the-counter pain-relieving drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin since they have milder side effects. Seek your doctor’s advice whenever you feel the need to switch to muscle relaxers.

Side Effects: Muscle relaxers have numerous side effects and are not suitable for pregnant women and nursing mothers. Although Cyclobenzaprine is in category B of the FDA pregnancy ratings, it must be used under the supervision of a health professional. Extended use of muscle relaxers should be avoided, as they can cause liver damage, drowsiness, depression, low blood pressure, nausea, and seizures, among others. 

Muscle relaxers interact with other drugs, herbs, and alcohol, increasing the risk of an overdose. Allergic reactions, like swelling of the face, may result from prolonged use, as they are for short-term acute pain.

Length of Usage: Muscle relaxers are not recommended for treating chronic pain, and should not be used for more than three weeks. The dosage is usually reduced after the first couple of days, to ensure that users do not develop severe side effects. Your condition may worsen from prolonged use, leading to shallow breathing, brain damage, and death. 

Muscle relaxers like Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine) are addictive and not suitable for people with a history of addiction. Soma (carisoprodol) taken with codeine (opioid) can be habit-forming due to its sedative effects. The medication should never be stopped abruptly to avoid the emergence of withdrawal symptoms. With the help of your doctor, the dosage can be reduced gradually.

The onset of Action and Half-Life: Most muscle relaxers begin to take effect 30 minutes after they are administered. Those that are administered intravenously by injection may also take effect faster than tablets or capsules. The impact could last for up to 6 hours and should not be taken when driving or operating heavy machinery to avoid severe injuries from an accident. 

For long-acting muscle relaxers, the duration of action could last for over 24 hours. The dosage for these prescription drugs is dependent on the age and bodyweight of the user. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will a muscle relaxer help me sleep?

Muscle relaxers are prescription drugs that are used for the treatment of acute pain. They are designed for short-term use and may cause drowsiness, making it easy for you to fall asleep. Muscle spasms often lead to sleeplessness, hence the need for relaxants that block the feeling of pain.

Is there a muscle relaxer that doesn’t make you sleepy?

Muscle relaxers often depress the central nervous system, making you feel drowsy. Your muscles relax, and you eventually become sleepy within minutes. These drugs interact with other medications, herbs, and alcohol to cause restlessness, confusion, insomnia, and other side effects.

Is it wrong to take muscle relaxers every day?

Muscle relaxers should only be taken with a doctor’s prescription. Your doctor should decide whether you need these relaxants, or other over-the-counter pain-relieving drugs, like aspirin. Some muscle relaxers are highly addictive and should not be used for long periods. Withdrawal symptoms appear when usage is abruptly stopped. If there are no improvements after a few days, you should consult with your doctor about trying something else.

Do muscle relaxers help with anxiety?

Muscle relaxers to relieve stress and anxiety while blocking pain signals that travel to the brain. Some Benzodiazepines, like Xanax, is often prescribed for people with anxiety disorders. The sedative effects of this drug ensure that you remain calm while tense muscles relax. 

 Can I take a muscle relaxer if I had a glass of wine?

Alcohol can have sedative effects when consumed in specific quantities. Although the impact could become heightened in combination with muscle relaxers, avoid alcohol when taking these drugs. The risk of an overdose and severe side effects increase with alcohol intake.

Final Thoughts

Muscle relaxers are often prescribed to ease the discomfort from muscle spasms and pain. Whether the pain is from worn-out muscles after exercise or any musculoskeletal condition, experiencing quick relief ensures that you stay comfortable during recovery. With relaxed muscles and drowsiness from the use of these drugs, quality, restorative sleep becomes achievable.

These drugs are not for older adults, kids, and patients with liver or heart diseases. People with a history of addiction should not use it for prolonged periods. If you notice any strange reaction, consult your physician.

 

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