Can Vyvanse Cause Insomnia?

Dr. Colleen Ehrnstrom's profile picture
Dr. Colleen Ehrnstrom, PhD
Aug 23, 20225 min read
Girl holding books with ADHD

As many as half of people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have trouble sleeping.1 Poor sleep is be even more common for those with both ADHD and mental health conditions like anxiety.2

When you regularly have trouble getting to sleep, wake up frequently throughout the night, or feel like you often get low-quality sleep, it is known as insomnia.3 While ADHD can lead to insomnia, some of its treatments — such as lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse) — can also contribute to poor sleep.

Stimulants and Insomnia

Vyvanse is a type of stimulant. These medications are often recommended for people with ADHD. They can change levels of various brain chemicals to boost focus and attention for people who struggle with this condition.4

Because stimulants can make you feel more alert, they often interfere with sleep processes and contribute to  insomnia. People who use these medications often take longer to fall to sleep and spend less time asleep overall throughout the night.5

The Connection Between Vyvanse and Insomnia

Some studies have found that insomnia is one of the most common side effects of Vyvanse for both children and adults.6 The higher the dose of Vyvanse, the more likely sleeping problems are to occur.5

On the other hand, one study found that Vyvanse didn’t have any major effect on sleep in children between the ages of six and 12.5 More research is needed in order to better understand whether this medication causes insomnia, or if certain people are more likely to experience this side effect.

Stimulants such as Vyvanse may help treat your ADHD but make your insomnia worse. Talk to your doctor about the potential benefits and side effects of Vyvanse and other potential therapies to find an ADHD treatment plan that works for you.

Vyvanse vs. Adderall

Adderall, another stimulant drug used to treat ADHD, can also impact sleep.7 In one study, researchers compared the effectiveness and side effects of Vyvanse and Adderall. Only 2% of children experienced insomnia while using Adderall, while 8% had sleeping troubles while taking Vyvanse. This indicates that Vyvanse may be more likely to lead to negative sleep effects.6

Vyvanse Recommended Dosage

Children and adults with ADHD often begin Vyvanse by taking a 30 mg dosage. If it doesn’t seem to be working, doctors may recommend increasing the dose by a small amount. The maximum Vyvanse dosage is 70 mg per day.8

Vyvanse is usually taken one time per day. Doctors usually recommend taking it in the morning.8

Doctors may sometimes provide other instructions based on your individual needs. Make sure to closely follow your doctor’s instructions, since Vyvanse can be addictive if you take a higher dose than recommended or use it more often than recommended.9

The Side Effects of Vyvanse

In addition to poor sleep, Vyvanse can cause:9,10

  • Tiredness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of irritability

In rare cases, Vyvanse can also cause serious side effects like slow speech, muscle weakness, mood swings, hallucinations, paranoia, heart problems, seizures, or dangerously low oxygen levels. In children, it can also prevent growth in children.9,10

Treating Sleeping Problems Caused By Vyvanse

When sleep becomes difficult, many people are tempted to reach for medicine. However, sleep medications often come with side effects and may stop working over time. Drugs like Vyvanse can also interact with a variety of different medications, so it may not be safe to use this drug along with certain sleep aids.9

In some cases, changing simple things about your routine or your environment can help you get more rest. These practices, known as sleep hygiene, include:11

  • Get in bed at the same time every night and set your alarm for the same time every morning.
  • Avoid sleeping in on weekends.
  • Keep your bedroom cool with air conditioning or fans.
  • Avoid being woken up by light by covering your windows or wearing a sleep mask.
  • Get more physical activity throughout your day.

Insomnia is often linked to feelings of worry or anxiety about sleep. For example, if you spend a lot of time worrying that you’ll lie awake at night,you may find it to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Experts recommend that people with insomnia first try going through psychological treatments to help improve sleep. They also recommend that people using short-term sleep aids also use these psychological treatments along with their medication.12

One of the most common and well-established psychological treatments for insomnia is cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, also called CBT-I. Both the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommend trying this treatment first, before using other types of insomnia therapies.13

CBT-I helps you reframe your attitudes and actions surrounding sleep. This type of treatment provides long-term benefits, and many people who have tried different sleep therapies say that they prefer CBT-I over medication.13 CBT-I may be a useful sleep-boosting tool for people with ADHD, whether they use Vyvanse or not.

Dawn Health now offers CBT-I through an easy-to-use app. To learn more, use our questionnaire to connect with one of our expert sleep coaches.

References

  1. Wajszilber, D., Santiseban, J. A., & Gruber, R. (2018). Sleep disorders in patients with ADHD: impact and management challenges. Nature and science of sleep, 10, 453–480. https://doi.org/10.2147/NSS.S163074

  2. Fadeuilhe, C., Daigre, C., Richarte, V., Grau-López, L., Palma-Álvarez, R. F., Corrales, M., & Ramos-Quiroga, J. A. (2021). Insomnia Disorder in Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Patients: Clinical, Comorbidity, and Treatment Correlates. Frontiers in psychiatry, 12, 663889. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.663889

  3. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2022, March 24). What Is Insomnia? https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/insomnia (https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/insomnia)

  4. Goodman D. W. (2010). Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (vyvanse), a prodrug stimulant for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. P & T : a peer-reviewed journal for formulary management, 35(5), 273–287.

  5. Stein, M. A., Weiss, M., & Hlavaty, L. (2012). ADHD treatments, sleep, and sleep problems: complex associations. Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, 9(3), 509–517. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-012-0130-0

  6. Biederman, J., Boellner, S. W., Childress, A., Lopez, F. A., Krishnan, S., & Zhang, Y. (2007). Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate and mixed amphetamine salts extended-release in children with ADHD: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover analog classroom study. Biological psychiatry, 62(9), 970–976. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2007.04.015

  7. Santisteban, J. A., Stein, M. A., Bergmame, L., & Gruber, R. (2014). Effect of extended-release dexmethylphenidate and mixed amphetamine salts on sleep: a double-blind, randomized, crossover study in youth with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. CNS drugs, 28(9), 825–833. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40263-014-0181-3

  8. Mayo Clinic. (2022, June 1). Lisdexamfetamine Dimesylate (Oral Route). https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/lisdexamfetamine-dimesylate-oral-route/proper-use/drg-20070888 (https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/lisdexamfetamine-dimesylate-oral-route/proper-use/drg-20070888)

  9. MedlinePlus. (2021, October 15). Lisdexamfetamine. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a607047.html (https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a607047.html)

  10. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2017, January). Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine Dimesylate) Capsules, Prescribing Information. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/208510lbl.pdf (https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/208510lbl.pdf)

  11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016, July 15). Tips for Better Sleep. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html (https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html)

  12. Schutte-Rodin, S., Broch, L., Buysse, D., Dorsey, C., & Sateia, M. (2008). Clinical guideline for the evaluation and management of chronic insomnia in adults. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 4(5), 487–504.

  13. Feuerstein, S., Hodges, S. E., Keenaghan, B., Bessette, A., Forselius, E., & Morgan, P. T. (2017). Computerized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia in a Community Health Setting. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 13(2), 267–274. https://doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.6460 (https://doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.6460)


Dr. Colleen Ehrnstrom's profile picture
Dr. Colleen Ehrnstrom, PhD

Dr. Colleen Ehrnstrom is a licensed clinical psychologist with a specialty practice in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Areas of expertise include insomnia and other sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression.

Dr. Ehrnstrom is not a medical provider and is not providing any recommendations regarding medications. Rather, she is sharing and reviewing the research as it relates to education when learning how best to treat insomnia.

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