Best Time of Day to Take Blood Pressure Medications

The best time of day to take your high blood pressure medication varies and is primarily based on the type(s) of medication you’re taking and your blood pressure and treatment goals. For some people with hypertension, it may be beneficial to take one or more of their medications at bedtime, according to recent studies. But any change to your medication routine must be first be discussed with your doctor.

How Blood Pressure Medications Work

Blood pressure tends to vary during the day. It tends to be higher when you wake up in the morning and during the morning hours, and lower in the night and when sleeping. However, there are people whose blood pressure does not drop at night, who researchers call "non-dippers."

Most blood pressure medications have been designed for ease of use, meaning they are meant to be taken once per day. Even so, these medications are not equally effective over the entire 24-hour period during which they are active.

The action of blood pressure drugs peaks anywhere from four to 15 hours later after you take a dose. Ideally, the drug is prescribed so that the peak concentration coincides with the time of day when your blood pressure is at its highest.

For people with normal sleep cycles, maintaining a routine dosing schedule is easier since the rise and fall in blood pressure will tend to be consistent.

However, if you work a second or third shift job or have other reasons to consistently be awake at non-standard hours, you may want to adjust your routine to account for these differences.

Bedtime Use

Some blood pressure medications are usually taken at bedtime because they can cause drowsiness. They tend to be designed to have a slower release of medication so that they still most active in the morning hours when blood pressures tend to be at their peak.

Non-dippers, whose blood pressure remains elevated through the night, may benefit most from taking a bedtime dose, according to a 2013 study from Spain. Doing so provides better control and may help reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.

A similar study from Spain showed that this regimen reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes in people with hypertension.

Based on these studies, the American Diabetes Association's Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2017 says that doctors should consider administering one or more hypertensive medications at bedtime.

A Word From Verywell

If you would like to adjust the timing of your medications, talk to your doctor. There are some medications that, while they can be taken at any time, cannot be quickly switched from one time to another without some monitoring and adjustment. Interactions with your other medications, food, and drink must also be taken into consideration.

In the end, your blood pressure medication will work best when you take it consistently, so any change of the timing of your dosage should be considered carefully. You would need to set up new habits and reminders so you don't skip any doses. Work with your doctor to decide on an administration plan that meets your schedule and lifestyle needs.

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