Can You Take Clonidine For Sleep?

Sandland Editorial Team
· 2 min read
clonidine for sleep

Can you take Clonidine for sleep? While the drug is commonly used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), it is not an FDA-approved treatment for insomnia

In this article, we discuss what Clonidine is, its pharmacological effects on health, and what effects this third-line psychiatry drug has on insomnia.

Remember, there are a lot of reasons for the onset of sleep disorders in healthy adults, children, and adolescents. Stress, hypertension, work, poor sleeping or eating habits, and high blood pressure can all contribute to insomnia. Other tablets, drugs, or medication may also cause side effects and manifest in other health issues in children.

What is Clonidine?

Clonidine is popularly known by its brand name Catapres or Kapvay. Catapres are drug medications used in combination with other psychiatry medications. Catapres tablets are also known to treat anxiety. Kapvay supplies extended-release Clonidine tablets for oral administration.

Clonidine drugs belong to a class of medications of alpha-agonist hypotensive agents, which is commonly used to treat hypertension. This is one of the most highly effective types of medicines, able to bring blood pressure down within just two hours. 

The alpha-agonist hypotensive agents in Clonidine can also improve heart rate variability in patients with congestive heart failure. Additionally, Clonidine is known to restore health and treat irritable bowels, diarrhea, and other pain conditions.

Clonidine In ADHD Treatment

what is clonidine

The other area where Clonidine is commonly used is in the clinical treatment of children and adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a neurodevelopmental disorder that shows up in early childhood. While the condition isn’t curable, early diagnosis can help the child manage it better.

Insomnia is a common side effect of ADHD treatment. Clonidine has been shown to help with sleep management in children with symptoms. The medication is often administered in oral or extended-release tablets, though injections and skin patches are also available. It’s worth noting that Clonidine was only reviewed and FDA-approved for use in child ADHD in 2010.

How Does Clonidine Help You Sleep?

Clonidine is an analgesic, anxiolytic, and sedative. This means Clonidine may be helpful in relieving pain, reducing anxiety, and inducing sleep. Reviewed research shows pharmacological effects on the brain from the use of Clonidine may make the person calm and less alert. Taken in high amounts, Clonidine treatment can make a person fall asleep.

That's because Clonidine is an NE alpha-2 receptor agonist. Norepinephrine or NE plays an important role in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. Clonidine treatment helps induce REM sleep by causing a reduction in the release of NE. 

However, this result changes based on the dosage of Clonidine per review. Low doses of Clonidine may make a person sleepy. It has also shown increases in REM sleep and reduced non-REM sleep when taken at night. Medium doses of Clonidine are known to have contrasting effects.

How Does Clonidine Help Treat Insomnia?

clonidine for insomnia

One of the reviewed pharmacological effects of Clonidine is that it makes the user drowsy. As we mentioned above, Clonidine can also induce REM sleep. However, the effect of Clonidine on the health of adults isn’t widely studied or confirmed. Clonidine extended-release has only been deemed safe to use in the treatment of side effects of ADHD like sleep disorders. 

Children with ADHD  are usually prescribed antidepressants. While these medications can help treat the condition, they may also bring side effects like insomnia. Instead of taking the patients off the first-line of ADHD stimulants, the doctor prescribes Clonidine extended-release. Clonidine may treat sleep disorders without disturbing the action of the first-line ADHD drug.

Clonidine extended-release, while effective in the treatment of insomnia, hasn’t been widely used. Keep in mind that Clonidine isn’t FDA-approved as a treatment for insomnia and this article does not officially, or in any way suggest that you should try it. Always speak to your doctor first before making decisions like this.

Clonidine may be prescribed as an off-label sleeping aid in combination with other medicines. Most ADHD drugs are categorized as a stimulant or non-stimulant. Stimulant drugs give the user a pleasurable feeling and thus are more addictive. Clonidine is reviewed as a non-stimulant ADHD therapy.

What Are the Side Effects of Clonidine?

Since Clonidine is a non-opiate substance, it is used to treat ADHD, insomnia, and drug withdrawal as well. Clonidine is helpful for treating or relieving any withdrawal symptoms. However, Clonidine also produces certain side effects when used to treat ADHD.

Mild Side-Effects

  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry eyes
  • Weakness
  • Nervousness
  • Decreased sexual ability
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach upset or pain
  • Constipation
  • Headache

Serious Side-Effects 

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Initial high blood pressure with sudden decreases
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Rashes
  • Hives
  • Orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure when you stand), causing dizziness
  • Passing out
  • Slowed breathing or trouble breathing
  • Hoarseness
  • Chest pain
  • Swelling of body parts
  • Hallucinations

Mild side effects require you to stop the tablets, while serious side effects should be presented to your doctor immediately.

What Are the Symptoms of Clonidine Overdose?

clonidine pills

It is rare to consume a high dose of Clonidine if you’re following prescriptions from the doctor. However, it’s good to be familiar with the symptoms of a potential Clonidine overdose:

  • Fainting
  • Shivering
  • Slurred speech
  • Tiredness
  • Slow heart rate
  • Smaller pupils
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Confusion
  • Cold, pale skin
  • Drowsiness


No matter how advanced, reviewed, or approved clinical medicine is, there are always side effects. Alternatively, natural products can be used to treat your sleep issues without the same risk. Sandland Sleep products are derived from all-natural ingredients to provide you the clean, clear sleep you deserve. Our long-lasting formula lasts eight hours and with no morning-after grogginess.

Our products are reviewed and approved to be safe for anyone above 18 years of age. However, our advice is that you consult a doctor for proper prescriptions to treat existing health issues.

How much Clonidine can I take for sleep?

The doctor will prescribe a Clonidine dose of 0.17mg to treat insomnia. The normal dosage range of Clonidine to treat insomnia is between 0.17mg-0.52mg. Catapres is the most commonly prescribed medicine but it is used to treat high blood pressure. Clonidine hydrochloride extended-release tablets must be swallowed whole and never crushed, or chewed.

When should I take Clonidine for sleep?

Clonidine extended-release tablets, for the treatment of insomnia, should be consumed at night two hours before bedtime. However, Clonidine comes with strong side effects, which require consultation with a doctor.

How effective is Clonidine for sleep?

The effectiveness of Clonidine for insomnia is very high in children with ADHD.  According to analysis data, 85% of the children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHA)-associated sleep disturbances reported reduced insomnia.

Written by Sandland Editorial Team

Our internal editorial team has put together research on key topics including product formulation, efficacy studies, and sleep advice.

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