Insomnia From Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine is a dangerous and addictive drug that can lead to insomnia and sleep disturbances with long-term use. Insomnia from cocaine use can be reversed and addiction can be treated through detox, inpatient, and outpatient options.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Cocaine is a hazardous, illicit drug that is associated with a long list of effects, some positive and some negative.

The effects of cocaine on the central nervous system are stimulant effects, which can make you more energized and feel euphoric.

However, one of the downsides of this stimulant is that when used frequently or in high doses, the stimulation can make it difficult to sleep.

In turn, you may develop insomnia, a sleep disorder that can make it challenging to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Insomnia can lead to a lack of REM sleep, or rapid eye movement sleep, which is the most important phase of sleeping as it helps with memory and learning.

How Cocaine Use Influences Insomnia

Like other kinds of stimulant drug use, cocaine tends to increase energy levels and decrease your need for sleep, but when abused, this effect can cause insomnia.

But how exactly does cocaine cause insomnia? Cocaine interacts with certain rhythms and neurotransmitters in your body, throwing them off balance.

Circadian Rhythm Disturbance

One way cocaine use can lead to insomnia is by disturbing your circadian rhythm.

The circadian rhythm is a natural pattern based on the 24-hour day that affects our behavior, mental state, and sleeping patterns.

Essentially, your circadian rhythm helps your body know when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to be awake.

As a result, when this rhythm is off-balance, it can be harder to sleep or stay asleep. Though it’s not exactly clear why, many drugs, including cocaine, can disrupt this rhythm and, as a result, your total sleep time.

Cocaine can prevent your body from shifting into a new phase of the circadian rhythm, which is why it can be hard to fall asleep.

Interestingly, as you continue to lose sleep from abusing cocaine, you may become more dependent on it as you need its stimulant effects to stay awake.

Dopamine Levels In The Brain

Another cause of insomnia is the way cocaine affects dopamine levels in your brain. Basically, cocaine attaches to the receptors that usually absorb dopamine.

This causes higher levels of dopamine in your brain, which is why using cocaine can make you feel happy and euphoric.

The problem is, when this drug is used too frequently or in high amounts, the increased dopamine levels can cause sleep problems.

Dopamine levels are naturally higher during times of activity or stimulation, so if you try to sleep while your dopamine levels are unusually high, you’ll most likely have a hard time.

Over time, this can lead to insomnia and cocaine dependence due to withdrawal symptoms

Long-Term Effects Of Insomnia

As is widely known, sleep is an essential function of the body. As a result, long-term sleep deprivation can have many unpleasant effects.

Some of these side effects can be short-term, including risk of injury, change in mood or judgment, and ability to learn or retain information. However, there are also long-term effects.

Long-term effects of poor sleep quality may include:

  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • cardiovascular disease
  • memory loss
  • mental function impairment
  • stroke
  • high blood pressure
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • mental health issues
  • increased pain
  • decreased sex drive
  • decreased immune system function
  • decreased fertility
  • death

Reversing Cocaine-Induced Insomnia

Luckily, cocaine-induced insomnia is one of the most reversible negative effects of the drug. The first step in reducing insomnia from cocaine abuse is to stop using it.

From there, you can work on getting your circadian rhythm back on track with certain practices and supplementing your sleep with medications like melatonin, if needed.

Treatment Options For Cocaine Addiction

Recovering from cocaine addiction can be challenging and overwhelming. Thankfully, there are endless addiction treatment options for cocaine addiction.

At Bedrock Recovery Center, a high-rated treatment center in Canton, MA, you’ll find a variety of programs for substance abuse like detoxification, medication-assisted treatment, and inpatient programs.

Being in a facility with healthcare professionals is the best way to get through cocaine withdrawal and cravings so you can move forward in your life.

Find Cocaine Abuse Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

If you or a loved one are dealing with a cocaine drug addiction, don’t hesitate to call our helpline at Bedrock Recovery Center to learn about our intensive drug treatment options.

  1. Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  4. NIDA

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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