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Does atorvastatin make you sleepy?

The short answer:

No clear evidence that atorvastatin makes you sleepy or cause sleep disturbance. However, atorvastatin is rare to cause you to feel fatigued and this rare side effect may make you sleepy. In contrast, other statins are reported to show different effects on sleeping based on their hydrophilic and lipophilic properties. Statin members which are more lipophilic such as lovastatin and simvastatin are reported to cause sleep disturbance higher than less lipophilic members.

Key facts:

  • There are limited studies about the impact of atorvastatin on sleeping and there is no clear evidence that atorvastatin could make you sleepy or cause sleep disturbance.
  • There is an assumption that you may experience sleeping after atorvastatin because taking atorvastatin could cause you to feel fatigued and thus you may feel sleepy. However, fatigue is a rarely reported side effect.
  • Atorvastatin is reported to cause nightmares. However, it is also a rarely reported side effect.
  • The effect of statins on sleeping duration and efficacy varies from one member to another.
  • It seems that the hydrophilic and lipophilic properties of statin play an important role in their effects on sleep. Statins with a high degree of lipophilicity such as lovastatin and simvastatin might be associated with sleep disturbance compared with other less lipophilic membres.


Does atorvastatin make you sleepy?

Can atorvastatin cause nightmares?

When to take atorvastatin morning or night?

When to take atorvastatin with or without food?

Does atorvastatin make you sleepy?

Atorvastatin is a cholesterol-lowering agent that belongs to a class of medications known as statins. Statins are among the most commonly prescribed medications worldwide.

Atorvastatin administration is associated with common side effects such as headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, and others (Ref).

Now the question is, does atorvastatin make you sleepy?

There aren’t many studies that investigated the impact of atorvastatin on sleep.

One study showed that atorvastatin therapy may help to reduce the apnea-hypopnea index and ameliorate hypoxia in patients with sleep apnea syndrome.

Furthermore, there is an assumption that you may feel sleepy after taking atorvastatin. This may be attributed to the fact that atorvastatin causes fatigue, especially when you do exercise. However, this side effect is a rare side effect and affects only 1-4% of statin users. There is no clear explanation for how statins cause you to feel fatigued. It is hypothesized that statins decrease the amount of energy provided to your muscles (Ref).

Other statins members showed different effects on sleep. A systematic review and meta-analysis revealed that statins have no significant adverse effects on sleep duration and efficiency. However, statins significantly reduced wake time and number of awakenings.

Additionally, it is found that certain members of statins are reported to cause sleep disturbance, others with no effect. This variation seems to be due to the difference in hydrophilic and lipophilic properties. Statins which are more lipophilic were found to affect sleeping duration and efficacy.

A study investigated the effect of 40 mg lovastatin and 40 mg pravastatin on sleep. This study involved 12 healthy individuals in a double-blind placebo-controlled sleep laboratory study. Results showed that:

  • Lovastatin (40 mg) did not disturb sleep during the first 5 days of administration. However, with continued administration (nights 16 through 18), it significantly increased wake time after sleep onset and stage 1 sleep compared with baseline.
  • In contrast, pravastatin (40 mg) was not associated with sleep disturbance either initially or with continued use.
  • The authors attributed the sleep disturbance of lovastatin to its higher lipophilicity compared with the hydrophobic properties of pravastatin.

Another study reported confirmatory results and showed that 17% of subjects taking lovastatin experienced shortening sleep duration (by 1 to 3 h) compared to no reports from patients treated with pravastatin.

A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized crossover study investigated the impact of simvastatin and pravastatin on measures of CNS activity. Results showed that those who take simvastatin had significantly greater difficulty in getting to sleep compared with those who take pravastatin (Ref).

Can atorvastatin cause nightmares?

Nightmare is a very rare side effect of taking atorvastatin. Individual cases reported nightmares with atorvastatin administration which stooped after cessation of the administration.

A case study reported an association between atorvastatin administration and the occurrence of nightmares. A 72-year-old woman reported that after 5 days of starting atorvastatin, she had extreme nightmares each night for more than 15 days. When she stopped atorvastatin, no nightmares occurred.

In other studies hallucinations and nightmares during statin therapy were also observed (Ref)

When to take atorvastatin morning or night

Statins are commonly prescribed once daily. However, in certain cases, it may be prescribed twice daily.

It is generally assumed that atorvastatin can be administered at any time during your day and it is important to take it at the same time every day.

In contrast, some researchers assume that the best time to take atorvastatin is at night not in the morning. Because it is more effective when it is taken at night.

Atorvastatin works by inhibiting enzyme two 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase which is responsible for the synthesis of cholesterol in your liver. This enzyme is more active at night. Therefore, atorvastatin is best to be taken at night.

When to take atorvastatin with or without food?

You can take atorvastatin with or without food. However, if you feel sick after taking atorvastatin, taking it after food may help you.

Atorvastatin tablets should be taken intact with a drink of water. Also, Fluvastatin, pravastatin, and rosuvastatin could be taken with or without food.