does naproxen make you tired

For most of us, a dose of naproxen can come in handy when body aches strike. And while it provides quick, effective relief, some experience a few side effects after taking a dose. Does naproxen make you tired or drowsy? Read along to find out:

What Does Naproxen Do?

Naproxen 500

Naproxen is a popular medication that relieves pain, inflammation, swelling, and stiffness all over the body. It belongs to a classification of medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are widely used to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and bring down a high temperature.

Naproxen is both a prescription and non-prescription NSAID. The prescription form Naproxen (Naprosyn) comes in sizes starting with 250 milligrams and going up to 500 milligrams, while the nonprescription naproxen (Aleve – naproxen sodium) is sold over-the-counter and comes as a 200-milligram tablet. Both types are available in tablet and liquid solution form.

Naprosyn treats pain, inflammation, swelling, or tenderness caused by osteoarthritis, gout, gouty arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, tendinitis, bursitis, and ankylosing spondylitis. It can also relieve headaches, shoulder pain, and toothache.

On the other hand, nonprescription naproxen Aleve provides mild, temporary relief from minor aches and pains from various conditions such as headaches, muscle aches, arthritis, menstrual periods, the common cold, toothaches, and backaches. It also reduces fever temporarily. 

Does Naproxen Make You Tired & Sleepy? – Side Effects

Does naproxen make you sleepy? Or even tired? — Yes, it can. Here’s how it works:

NSAIDs work by blocking two types of cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes: COX-1 and COX-2. COX-1 is in charge of regulations such as platelet clotting and protecting your stomach lining, while COX-2 is responsible for inflammation and fevers in the body. 

NSAIDs are classified into selective, which targets only one enzyme, and non-selective, which targets both enzymes systematically. Naproxen falls under the non-selective category (along with aspirin, ibuprofen, mefenamic acid. etc.)  Each person will respond to NSAIDs differently, depending on the kind of pain they’re experiencing and the overall condition of their body. 

The drowsiness and sleepiness are likely an effect of the medication fighting against the inflammation. The inflammation in the body makes it difficult for your body and mind to relax (and sleep), which can cause a chronic lack of sleep, which worsens it further. Excessive intake of naproxen can also result in extreme drowsiness.

Both prescription (Naprosyn) and non-prescription naproxen (Aleve) have been reported to cause drowsiness and sleepiness (For Aleve, the side effects occur between 3% and 9% of all who take it). Make time to rest after you take NSAIDs or take them in the evening if they give you this effect. Avoid driving, using heavy machinery, or doing other activities that require alertness until you know you can function normally. 

Other Side Effects

Apart from drowsiness and sleepiness, naproxen may cause other side effects.

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sleeping problems
  • Burning or tingling in the arms or legs
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Frequent, excessive thirst
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Hearing problems

Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following severe side effects:

  • Vision changes
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Breathing problems
  • Swelling in the abdomen, ankles, feet, or legs
  • Sore throat
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)
  • Bruises or purple blotches under the skin
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Cloudy, discolored, or bloody urine
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Loss of appetite
  • Confusion

Naproxen may cause other side effects. If you’re experiencing any other side effects while taking the medication, seek immediate medical attention. Your doctor may recommend another medication for your condition or to relieve side effects.


The following medications/drugs have been found to interact with naproxen, each with varying levels of interaction:

  • Adderall (amphetamine / dextroamphetamine) 
  • Aspirin Low Strength (aspirin) (Moderate)
  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine) (Moderate)
  • Fish Oil (omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids) (Moderate)
  • Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine)
  • Flonase (fluticasone nasal)
  • Lexapro (escitalopram) (Moderate)
  • Lyrica (pregabalin)
  • Nexium (esomeprazole) (Moderate)
  • Norco (acetaminophen / hydrocodone)
  • Singulair (montelukast)
  • Synthroid (levothyroxine)
  • Tylenol (acetaminophen)
  • Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
  • Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)
  • Xanax (alprazolam)
  • Zoloft (sertraline) (Moderate)
  • Zyrtec (cetirizine)

Mixing medications like naproxen with other drugs, foods, or supplements can result in unwanted side effects and diminish its efficacy. 

Best Time To Take Naproxen

If you’re taking Naprosyn, it’s usually taken only when needed; you won’t have to be on a dosing schedule. But if you are, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.

If you’re taking Aleve, Take one tablet, caplet, gelcap, or liquid gel every 8 to 12 hours while symptoms last. You may take 2 pills for the first dose within the first hour. Do not exceed 2 dosages in 12 hours, and (do not exceed 3 in 24 hours). You should use the smallest effective dose. Drink a full glass of water with each dose.

You can take naproxen safely with or without food, though taking it with food may reduce any risk of stomach troubles. You can cut or crush the immediate-release tablet to make it easier to ingest.

Your intake period of naproxen depends on the condition you’re taking it for. For example, if you have a sore back or period pain, you may only need to take it for a short time. However, you may have to take it longer if you have a long-term condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis.

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture.

If you take more than your prescribed dose of naproxen tablets, you might be in danger of experiencing adverse health effects. Contact your doctor immediately in case of a naproxen overdose. 


Naproxen is a popular medication to relieve muscle aches, swelling, and stiffness all over the body. While it’s usually effective, some symptoms like drowsiness or sleepiness may be due to its effect on the body. 

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if they’re more severe or won’t go away. It’s also recommendable to consult your doctor before taking naproxen to rule out possible health risks. 

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

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