If you suffer from insomnia, you may have been prescribed Klonopin for sleep. If you’re wondering what the medication does, you’ve come to the right place.
Klonopin, whose generic name is clonazepam, is a medication from the benzodiazepine class of medicines, colloquially referred to as “benzos.” Benzodiazepines also include diazepam (Valium) and lorazepam (Ativan).
Klonopin is only available by prescription. It comes in the form of tablets and liquid, which we take orally. You can conveniently get your prescription drugs refilled or renewed with our professionals at Minded.
Klonopin uses include treating mental health issues like panic disorders, seizures caused by epilepsy, and involuntary muscle spasms. In some cases, it’s also used to treat restless legs syndrome.
In addition to the clonazepam uses described above, you might have been prescribed Klonopin as an effective treatment for REM sleep disorders, including night terrors.
Klonopin for sleep relieves symptoms in nearly 90% of people with no signs of Klonopin tolerance or abuse, when dosages are carefully determined and monitored.
Here, we’ll discuss what Klonopin for anxiety and sleep does, how long it lasts, the common Klonopin dosage, and what you need to know about any Klonopin side effects you may experience.
What you need to know about Klonopin for anxiety and sleep
As we mentioned earlier, Klonopin for anxiety and sleep can be used to treat REM sleep disorder. REM sleep disorder, sometimes called dream-enacting behavior, is where a person may act out vivid dreams with sudden, sometimes violent arm and leg movements. Depending on the Klonopin dosage, it has also been shown to be an effective treatment for those of us with panic disorders, social anxiety disorders, and seizures.
The way Klonopin for sleep works is that it increases levels of a calming neurotransmitter in our brains. This helps to relieve our anxiety, prevents seizures, reduces the instance of awakenings from REM sleep disorders, and relaxes tense muscles. It promotes deep relaxation of the muscles and deeper states of sleep than REM, which is near to wakefulness.
What's the right Klonopin dosage for sleep?
The Klonopin for sleep dosage is typically 0.25-2.0 mg, 30 minutes before you go to bed; total daily Klonopin dosage should not exceed 4 mg per day. If you’ve been prescribed Klonopin for reasons other than sleep, you can take Klonopin two to three times per day, if that is how your healthcare provider prescribed it.
Your doctor will probably start you off with low Klonopin doses, then gradually increase the dose until it is the right Klonopin for sleep dosage for you. If you’re not sure how to take Klonopin, talk to your doctor or pharmacist, or consult with Minded's experts.
We also want to mention that when you take Klonopin as recommended, addiction to it is uncommon. However, you will need to gradually reduce your Klonopin or generic clonazepam dosage for sleep before you stop taking this medication, in order to prevent possible withdrawal.
As with many medications, we should not drink alcohol while taking Klonopin because alcohol can increase the likelihood or severity of potential side effects from this medication.
We also need to avoid anything with caffeine, which includes coffee, caffeinated sodas, tea, and chocolate. Food and drinks that contain caffeine act as a stimulant which can inhibit the calming effect that Klonopin is meant to provide.
How long should you take Klonopin for sleep?
The duration of your treatment with Klonopin will depend on what you are taking it for. If Klonopin is for sleep-related problems, your doctor should regularly review whether you need to continue taking it. Generally Klonopin is recommended for short term use, namely for weeks, not months or years.
How long does Klonopin last?
Klonopin starts working fairly quickly. You can start feeling its effects within an hour. Klonopin usually lasts for 8-12 hours, meaning you should be able to sleep through the night when you are on the right dose for you of this medication. The right dose is essential, otherwise a person will wake up in the middle of the night if the dose is too low or sleep late into the morning if the dose is too high.
What you need to know about potential Klonopin side effects
As we noted before, taking Klonopin for anxiety and sleep can cause drowsiness, being less coordinated, and dizziness. But, like many other medications, Klonopin effects may also include other behavioral and physical side effects.
Let’s go over those side effects, in more depth below. It is important to be aware of these potential effects before starting the medication (and while taking it too).
The behavioral side effects of Klonopin for sleep
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Klonopin can affect behavior and mood in rare cases.
Behavioral and mental side effects include hallucinations, paranoia, excitement, unexplained rage, nightmares, irrational thoughts,and suicidal thoughts.
The side effects that can affect our mood include anxiousness, depression, loss of memory, feelings of loss, feelings of sorrow, mood swings and lack of interest in activities that we once found enjoyable.
The physical side effects of Klonopin for sleep
Klonopin studies show that 30% of people taking the medication experience ataxia. Ataxia is a loss of balance or problems coordinating our body movements.
Other physical side effects might include seizures, accidental falls, weak or shallow breathing, or an unusual heartbeat.
Adverse effects that Klonopin can produce include painful or difficult urination, chronic insomnia or sleepiness, blurred vision, headache, and slurred speech.
Some additional, potential physical side effects from Klonopin include fluctuations in your weight, loss of appetite, diarrhea, pain and inflammation, sweating, nausea, and fever.
If you stop taking Klonopin, you may experience heart palpitations. Consult with your doctor regarding these or other effects you may experience.
Medications that can interfere with Klonopin
It is important to note that some medications can interfere with the actions of Klonopin.
These medications include anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, antidepressants, hypnotics, muscle spasm medications, blood pressure medications, diuretics, antihistamines, cimetidine (a medication that reduces stomach acid), rifampin (an antibiotic), and fluconazole (an antifungal).
Pain medications, like codeine, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, OxyContin, Vicodin and other opioids, can also interfere with – or amplify - the actions of Klonopin.
You should talk to your doctor or the experts at Minded if you’re taking herbal remedies or supplements with Klonopin or its generic, clonazepam. Certain herbal remedies used to treat anxiety or insomnia, like kava or valerian, can increase any drowsiness caused by Klonopin.
Taking Klonopin while pregnant and breastfeeding
It is not usually recommended to take Klonopin for anxiety and sleep if pregnant. Several studies done on animal subjects noted the occurrence of congenital conditions, such as cleft palate and open eyelid. Reduced maternal weight gain also has been reported.
There is simply not enough information to conclude whether Klonopin is safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. In addition to the risk of congenital conditions noted above, your newborn may experience withdrawal symptoms.
If you become pregnant while taking Klonopin, you should speak to your doctor or an expert at Minded. However, do not stop taking Klonopin without medical guidance, especially if you have been taking it for weeks or longer.
Similarly, Klonopin for anxiety and sleep is not recommended for women who decide to breastfeed. If you are breastfeeding, or want to breastfeed, be sure to consult your doctor or one of our Minded experts regarding the best course of action you might take, as well as to explain the possible side effects of continuing your Klonopin treatment.
What to discuss with your doctor before and while taking Klonopin
We now have covered what Klonopin is and how it works. We’ve also discussed how long Klonopin for anxiety and sleep lasts and what you need to know about its side effects and the medications that interfere with (or amplify) the effects of Klonopin.
Here is a list meant to help you talk to your doctor before and when you take Klonopin.
- Discuss other conditions you have: For example, those who are sensitive to benzodiazepines or have liver disease should not take Klonopin. Those who have sleep apnea may be advised against taking it as well.
- Tell your doctor about all medications you are taking: Since Klonopin can interfere with other medications, you will need to give your doctor a complete list of all your medications. Your doctor can then decide if it is safe for you to take Klonopin or if they need to prescribe a different sleep medicine.
- Let your doctor know if you have a history of depression: As noted above, in the section on side effects, Klonopin can affect patients with depression, worsening mood or inducing suicidal thoughts. If you have depression or currently take antidepressants — specifically tricyclic antidepressants — your doctor might advise against taking Klonopin, and prescribe a different sleeping pill.
- Tell your doctor If you work in a hazardous occupation: Klonopin can cause drowsiness, loss of coordination and dizziness, which may negatively affect the ability to safely operate vehicles and heavy machinery.
- If you plan to become pregnant, or already are: be sure to let your doctor know.
The experts at Minded can answer any questions or concerns you have before or while taking Klonopin. We can also refill or renew your existing clonazepam prescription.
Final thoughts: Klonopin for anxiety and sleep — Is Klonopin for sleep safe?
If you’re taking Klonopin for a sleep disorder, panic attacks, or social anxiety, it is reassuring to know that the Klonopin drug is effective. Klonopin for sleep also may help those who have restless legs syndrome.
While Klonopin can be beneficial, like all other medications, it has its risks and side-effects. Be sure to talk to your doctor before and while taking Klonopin for anxiety and sleep. Discuss these conditions and any others you may have, and report all other medications and supplements you are taking.
The experts at Minded are standing by to help guide you as well. Or, you can visit our FAQ to find answers to our most commonly asked questions. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns about Klonopin. We want to help you take the best of care of yourself.