, Volume 25, Supplement 2, pp 268–272 | Cite as

β-Blocking Drugs and Sleep A Controlled Trial

  • T. A. Betts
  • C. Alford
Section 6: β-Blockade and the Central Nervous System


In a study comparing the effect of 4 β- blockers on sleep, 10 normal female subjects attended a sleep laboratory on 5 separate occasions (each occasion lasting 10 nights). After 2 adaptation nights, they took a low dose of either atenolol, propranolol, metoprolol, pindolol or placebo for 2 nights followed by 4 nights of a high dose of the same drug: there were then 2 drug- free withdrawal nights. Drugs were presented in a balanced order design and each subject acted as her own control. Subjective effects of the drugs on the quality of the sleep were measured by questionnaire the next morning, and all- night electroencephalograms (EEGs), muscle tension, eye movement and heart rate were recorded.

Subjectively, metoprolol, propranolol and pindolol increased dreaming and early awakening; propranolol and pindolol increased reported awakenings in the night. The effect of atenolol was the same as that of placebo. Confirmatory evidence from other studies of the benign effect of atenolol on subjective sleep is reported. EEG changes were minor, apart from a withdrawal effect with pindolol.


Metoprolol Atenolol Methyldopa Pindolol Nadolol 
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Copyright information

© ADIS Press Australasia Pty Ltd (Inc. NSW) 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. A. Betts
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. Alford
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryClinical Research Block, Queen Elizabeth HospitalBirmingham 15England
  2. 2.Department of NeuropsychologyUniversity of Aston in BirminghamBirminghamEngland

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