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Your Good Health: Waking up at 2 a.m. for meds does more harm than good

The best recommendation now is to take the blood pressure medication at any time that is convenient for you, as long as it is the same time every day.
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Dr. Keith Roach

Dear Dr. Roach: Our now-retired former general physician told my husband and me about the latest research stating that taking high blood pressure medication (such as our benazepril) and thyroid medicine (Synthroid) is most effective between 1 and 3 a.m. We have followed this advice for almost 10 months, but wonder if this is actually better for our health.

Before this, my husband took Synthroid every morning for nearly three decades without any discernable problems.

J.K.

A 2020 study suggested that better outcomes occur when taking blood pressure medication at night, but additional studies did not confirm this finding. The best recommendation now is to take the blood pressure medication at any time that is convenient for you, as long as it is the same time every day.

Thyroid medication absorption can be affected by some foods (especially caffeine-containing ones) and medicines (especially calcium and iron supplements), so many experts recommend avoiding these within 30-60 minutes of taking thyroid tablets. However, if your husband has been taking it for decades one way, and the levels in his blood are always good, then he should keep doing what he’s doing. Consistency is the most important factor.

In my opinion, waking up at 2 a.m. just to take medicine probably does more harm than good.

Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to ToYourGoodHealth@med.cornell.edu