Home Blog

What Do You Need to Know About Gabapentin for Sleep?

Gabapentin for Sleep
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


Medical Disclaimer
The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs. Read more

Insomnia is among the most common conditions which cause many adults to seek medical advice. Different medications are prescribed for insomnia issues: one of them is gabapentin for sleep.

Medication should be part of an integrated approach that includes behavioral change strategies and treatment of relevant symptomatology to tackle insomnia.

Get appropriate treatment for insomnia– Click below to schedule your appointment.

Gabapentin is a drug prescribed by doctors for a few reasons. Primarily, it is used as an anticonvulsant as it helps control seizures in epileptic people.

It is also used to ease certain kinds of neuropathic pains and reduce the effect of restless legs syndrome. 

Additionally, Gabapentin treats:

This medication works by affecting the electrical activity in the brain and influencing neurotransmitters, which pass messages between nerve cells.

Gabapentin has numerous brand names such as:

  • Neurontin
  • Gralise
  • Horizant

It is available in the following forms:

  • Liquid
  • Capsule
  • Tablet 

Before you start gabapentin as your medication option, it would help you to learn more about the drug. Here is everything you need to know about gabapentin for sleep.

How Does Gabapentin Work?

There is a need for research to understand the pharmacological effects of gabapentin fully.

As an anticonvulsant drug, you would expect gabapentin to work by interacting with GABA [1*]  (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) receptors in the central nervous system.

However, it does not operate the same way. It is not clear how gabapentin works: nonetheless, there are indications that it affects calcium levels to treat different disorders.

In other cases, it is thought to reduce sensitivity that results from the pain from the condition, making one feel less pain and sensitivity. This relaxing and soothing effect on nerves is why psychiatrists prescribe it as an anxiety and insomnia treatment.

It helps treat seizures by manipulating the impact and levels of calcium. Low levels of calcium are known to cause seizures.

Benefits of Gabapentin for Sleep

How Does Gabapentin Affect Sleep?

Will gabapentin help you sleep?

You may wonder. According to research, there are excellent treatment effects of gabapentin for primary insomnia. The treatment is possible in various ways. One, gabapentin has great anti-anxiety and calming effects, making it very helpful in treating sleep disorders and insomnia.

Also, gabapentin has a peculiar effect on sleep quality. According to a study, gabapentin not only helps to treat insomnia symptoms [2*]  by decreasing spontaneous arousal — like waking up in the middle of the night.

It also helps improve sleep quality by enhancing slow-wave sleep. Slow-wave sleep also referred to as deep sleep, is the type of sleep that makes individuals feel rested.

During this deep sleep, the pituitary gland secretes hormones, like the human growth hormone, which develops and repairs cells in the body. Glucose metabolism in the brain also increases, supporting learning and memory.

Get appropriate treatment for insomnia– Click below to schedule your appointment.

How Long Does Gabapentin Take To Work for Sleep?

Gabapentin has a half-life of 5-7 hours. Simply put, it takes about 5 to 7 hours for most people to metabolize the medication to half of its original concentration. The duration its effects take to manifest varies from one person to another.

However, since the drug improves your ability to stay asleep, you should only take it when you have 7-8 hours to sleep.

Please strictly take your prescription on your doctor’s guidelines. Never use this medication if you won’t go to bed right away and stay asleep for at least 7 hours. Also, do not operate a vehicle or other heavy machinery after taking gabapentin.

When to Take Gabapentin for Sleep and Anxiety?

The most appropriate time to take gabapentin for sleep and anxiety is around 09:00 pm or just before your usual bedtime. Once you take this medication you will feel relaxed and calmed before falling asleep.

Does Gabapentin Take Time to Work for Anxiety?

It may take a few weeks for gabapentin to achieve its maximum effect on patients with anxiety. However, the time may vary considerably depending on the severity of your condition. The gabapentin maximum dosage for anxiety can as well take different times to work depending on the person taking it.

Gabapentin for Sleep Side Effects

Dosages For Gabapentin for Sleep

The Gabapentin for sleep dosage varies from one individual to another. However, doctors usually start with 300 g of Gabapentin for sleep and anxiety for two nights. After this, they follow it up with 300 mg and take it twice daily for an additional two days.

If you tolerate this twice-daily dosage, It can increase up to 300 mg three times a day. Also, your doctor can carry out additional titration going upward and make 300 mg increments depending on the side effects.

Do not take gabapentin daily doses of more than 3600 mg. Please consult with your doctor before adjusting any gabapentin dose.

Long Term Use of Gabapentin for Sleep

There is a need for more evidence-based research to conclude whether gabapentin for sleep is safe for long-term use as a sleep medication.

The research is critical, especially because gabapentin has been proven to have severe withdrawal symptoms that can negatively impact sleep and have some potential for abuse. When using gabapentin, use it for the shortest possible duration and at the lowest possible dose.

Bottom Line

Gabapentin is an effective sleep aid for those experiencing constantly interrupted sleep and anxiety. If you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s essential to start by making an appointment with your doctor. They may assess you and determine whether gabapentin for sleep is the right treatment path for you. 

Additionally, they may refer you to a polysomnographic technician to evaluate your sleep and ensure that you aren’t experiencing any other sleep disturbances, such as sleep apnea. Please use gabapentin for sleep and anxiety when other treatments, medication, or otherwise, are insufficient after consultation with your doctor.

Get appropriate treatment for insomnia– Click below to schedule your appointment.


2 sources
  1. GABA and the GABAA Receptor
    Source link
  2. Gabapentin increases slow-wave sleep in normal adults. (2002)
    Source link
Show more
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


Prioritize your mental well-being

Consult a healthcare professional online and receive a treatment plan tailored to your needs.

Recommended Articles

Join our newsletter

Sign up to receive mental health news and tips delivered right in your inbox every month.


Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.