Can you take Hydroxyzine for sleep?

hydroxyzine for sleep
Medically reviewed by Richard Honaker M.D.

Key Takeaways

  • Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine typically prescribed to treat allergic skin reactions, combat anxiety, and reduce stress/tension. 
  • Available as Atarax, this antihistamine medication has sedative properties, promoting its off-label use as a sleep aid. 
  • Despite the research supporting the use of Hydroxyzine for sleep, it is essential to consult a doctor before using any sleep aids. 


In today’s world, an epidemic of sleep issues is a prevalent problem. People are constantly searching for solutions that give them a night’s rest. Hydroxyzine, for sleep, may not be the first-line option, but it has gained popularity for its use in promoting sleep due to its sedating effects. This article provides an in-depth understanding of Hydroxyzine’s role in sleep and explores its effectiveness.

Can Hydroxyzine be used as a sleep aid?

Hydroxyzine is, in fact, an antihistamine. This antihistamine is used to treat allergic skin reactions. However, Hydroxyzine for panic attacks and tension is another popular use. The primary mode of action is reducing the activity in the central nervous system. Hydroxyzine for insomnia is prescribed as an off-label sleep aid as it helps induce sleep. In some cases, it is used during and after general anesthesia. 

What are the effects of Hydroxyzine (Atarax) on sleep?

Atarax for sleep or Atarax for insomnia is now prescribed due to its sedating properties. The sedative effect is primarily due to its action on H1 receptors in the brain. The histamine receptors(H1) play a role in the regulation of sleep-wake cycle. Hydroxyzine disables the activation of histamine(a neurotransmitter that promotes wakefulness) by binding to these receptors. Interruption or blocking of histamine activity leads to drowsiness, facilitating sleep. Furthermore, acting as a central nervous system depressant, it slows down neuronal activity. This causes an overall sensation of relaxation and helps an individual not to fall asleep but to remain asleep as well.

Additionally, this relaxing effect has promoted its use as an anxiolytic, as it helps reduce anxiety and combat panic attacks.

Do you have anxiety, panic attacks or insomnia? Hydroxyzine may be the answer.Consult now!

How Long Does Hydroxyzine Last for sleep?

Hydroxyzine has shown promising results in dealing with sleep-related issues. Besides its use to treat conditions such as anxiety, the drug has proven to be effective in improving sleep quality and tackling sleep-related issues. 

Hydroxyzine is a fast-acting drug, and the sedative effects appear as soon as 30 to 45 minutes after taking the pill. However, its effects only last a few hours, even though the drug can stay in your system for up to 60 hours. If you are taking Hydroxyzine to help with your sleep issues caused by anxiety, taking it right before bedtime will be most effective.

What is the duration of treatment?

When using a sleep aid, long-term use of Hydroxyzine may be associated with side effects. Studies have hinted at an increased risk of dependence and withdrawal symptoms, particularly in cases where higher doses are used for extended periods. Further studies may be necessary to understand fully these risks associated with long-term use. The dose prescribed to you can vary; Hydroxyzine hcl 25mg for sleep may be the initial dosage prescribed to you, which may be increased to 50mg hydroxyzine for sleep. This might need to be taken several times a day in case of anxiety. However, to avoid hydroxyzine hcl side effects, it is best to stick to the recommended dose.

Should I take Hydroxyzine with food?

The medication can be consumed with or without a meal. Eating does not affect how the drug works in the body. However, avoiding alcohol consumption while taking Hydroxyzine will help prevent excessive drowsiness.

Can I take Hydroxyzine separately from my other medications?

Several medications have been shown to interact with Hydroxyzine. That is why it is essential to mention the complete list of your medications, over-the-counter antibiotics, vitamins, and supplements to your doctor and pharmacist. Some of the drugs that Hydroxyzine interacts with include:

When should I see a doctor?

If you are taking Hydroxyzine for sleep or want to consider a sleep aid, it is crucial to consult a doctor before using any medication for sleep. 

Our healthcare provider can assess your overall health, medical history, and medications to determine if Hydroxyzine is a suitable option for you; connect with our doctor at Your Doctors Online for a consultation.

Are you taking Hydroxyzine to help with sleep issues caused by anxiety or stress? Talk to our doctor for a refill.

FAQs about Hydroxyzine for sleep

Can I take Hydroxyzine every night?

When it comes to Hydroxyzine and sleep, Hydroxyzine is not usually meant to be a long-term use. Even though it is considered safe to use on a daily basis, Hydroxyzine may not work as well once an individual develops tolerance.

Can Hydroxyzine be used for sleep if I have a history of mental health conditions?

Hydroxyzine is particularly effective in treating insomnia or sleep disturbances that are caused due to stress or anxiety.

Is Hydroxyzine safe for use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?

Generally, Hydroxyzine should not be used during pregnancy or while you are breastfeeding unless the benefits outweigh the risks. Your doctor will help establish if the medication is safe for you.

Can Hydroxyzine be taken long-term for sleep difficulties?

The drug Hydroxyzine is generally a short-term solution to manage anxiety and sleep difficulties and is not recommended for long-term use.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Burgazli, Courtney R., et al. “Efficacy and safety of hydroxyzine for sleep in adults: Systematic review.” Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental 38.2 (2023): e2864.
  • Alford, C., et al. “Acute effects of hydroxyzine on nocturnal sleep and sleep tendency the following day: AC‐EEG study.” Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental 7.1 (1992): 25-35.
  • Ahmadpanah, Mohammad, et al. “Comparing the effect of prazosin and hydroxyzine on sleep quality in patients suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder.” Neuropsychobiology 69.4 (2014): 235-242.
  • Spahr, Laurent, et al. “Histamine H1 blocker hydroxyzine improves sleep in patients with cirrhosis and minimal hepatic encephalopathy: a randomized controlled pilot trial.” Official journal of the American College of Gastroenterology| ACG 102.4 (2007): 744-753.

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