While opioids can be useful if taken correctly, they may also come with some side-effects. Opioid sleep issues in particular are gaining more and more attention. The problems could indicate a deeper connection between opioid intake and sleep quality…

Opioid Sleep Issues: What To Know

Different connections

Opioid sleep issues can be seen in both those who take them, and those who are stopping usage. When we sleep, our brains go through different “stages”, each with their own function. The first, non-REM (rapid eye movement), is where we get our deepest sleep. REM sleep is when we dream, and helps boost our memories. 

When taking opioids, some people find they can’t get the right amount of time sleeping in each stage. Rather, they might constantly wake up throughout the night. Even those who are going through withdrawals while trying to quit can experience sleep disruptions. 


Insomnia is one of the most common opioid sleep issues. Many people who take opioids struggle to fall asleep at the times they normally would. Instead, they either find themselves falling asleep much later, or not even being able to sleep at all. This’ll continue on-and-off for as long as they take their prescription. 

Insomnia is quite unhealthy, especially if it lasts for a long time. Going without enough sleep can place a person at a higher risk of things like heart attacks, strokes, and drastic changes in weight. Furthermore, it could lead to anxiety issues, depression, and feelings of constant confusion. 

Constant drowsiness

At the other end of opioid sleep issues are feelings of constant drowsiness. Certain prescriptions can actually make a person feel too tired all the time. Instead of not being able to sleep, they instead will feel sleepy all the time. Still, this can cause issues with them getting enough sleep when it counts. 

Also, this will make it harder for them to function like they normally do. It’ll be much harder to pay attention to things or get work done properly when feeling constantly sleepy. It can even become very dangerous, such as when driving or operating some kind of heavy equipment.