Why It's Important to Take Statins for Cholesterol at Night
When is the best time to take statins, really?
Cholesterol management, or figuring out ways to avoid excessive levels of unhelpful cholesterol in your bloodstream, is crucial for heart health. Too much cholesterol can lead to blood flow blockages and heart-related issues—not something you want to mess with.
Statins are a type of medication that supports balanced cholesterol levels. From atorvastatin to Zocor, statins are a known type of treatment that is both effective and common.
But many people, including the nearly 40 million American adults taking statins, may not know there is a best time to take statins for the best possible effect.
Science-Based Dosage Schedules: The Best Time to Take Statins Is…
The best time to take statins is at night. Why?
Cholesterol production peaks at night. Your body is busiest during the evening hours churning out both LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and HDL (“good” cholesterol). In theory, if you shut down that process with a statin during peak production, you’ll have a more significant reduction in overall levels.
We see this in practice, too. A study published in the journal Circulation showed that taking statins before bed can help to reduce LDL cholesterol levels by up to 50% more than taking them in the morning.
How Do Statins Work?
Statin medications block an enzyme (called “HMG-CoA reductase”) that helps the liver produce cholesterol. By blocking this helpful enzyme, you ensure the liver can’t make as much cholesterol.
Will My Statin Affect How I Sleep?
Your statin could affect how you sleep. Some people who take statins report difficulty falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, or generally experiencing restless sleep.
There are several reasons this could be happening. It’s not always because of the statin. Pairing your statin with a soothing nighttime routine, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, and incorporating other sleep-friendly habits into your day should help.
Talk to your doctor if you consistently sleep poorly after taking your statin. They may recommend other strategies, alternative medications, or other ways to help you get the sleep you need to thrive (while supporting reduced cholesterol production).
When Is the Best Time to Take Blood Pressure Meds?
While cholesterol production is highest at night – and, therefore, it makes sense to take some statins nightly – blood pressure tends to be highest in the morning. If you’re taking a once-daily blood pressure med, it may make sense to take it when you wake up.
Must All Statins Be Taken at Night?
Some statins really should be taken at night. Others may have a little more leeway.
The important thing to remember is to try and take your statin at the same time every day. This will help your body maintain consistent levels of cholesterol production, or lack thereof, instead of dipping in and out of reduced production mode.
It’ll also help keep any side effects you may experience minimal.
If you’re taking a statin medication, talk to your doctor about whether a nighttime dosage strategy makes sense for you.
If you’d like more information going into that conversation, keep reading. We’ll talk a little about the different types of statins and potential dosing strategies below.
Differentiating Between Short-Acting and Long-Acting Statins
Not all statins are created equal. Some work immediately. Others are playing a longer game.
In general, you should take short-acting statins before bed, so they can begin work at once when your body’s production of cholesterol is at its highest.
If you’ve been prescribed a long-acting statin, you can likely take it at any time, as long as you take it at about the same time every day.
Wondering whether your statin medication is short-acting or long-acting?
Here’s a quick rundown of the most common cholesterol medication options and their classification.
Short-acting statins recommended for nighttime use include:
- Zocor (or generic simvastatin) is a low- to moderate-intensity statin that, like many statins, can cause side effects such as muscle pain and liver damage. You can buy Zocor through NorthWestPharmacy.com for around $1.80 per pill and the generic for much less.
- Pravachol (or generic pravastatin) is a low-intensity statin, typically recommended for nighttime use. Here, you can buy Pravachol for about $1.55 per pill and the generic for much less.
- Mevacor (or generic lovastatin) is another low-intensity statin. Through NorthWestPharmacy.com, you can buy Mevacor for approximately $3.90 per pill.
- Lescol (or generic fluvastatin) is a low-to-moderate-intensity statin. You can buy generic Lescol here for about $1.70 per pill.
Long-acting statins that can be taken at any time include:
- Lipitor (or generic atorvastatin) is a very common high-intensity statin, often used as the first line of treatment for moderate to high cholesterol levels. Through NorthWestPharmacy.com, you can buy Lipitor for about $1.80 per pill and the generic for much less.
- Crestor (or generic rosuvastatin) is another high-intensity statin. You can buy Crestor through NorthWestPharmacy.com for approximately $2.25 per pill and the generic for much less.
- Lescol XL (or generic extended-release fluvastatin) is a moderate-intensity statin that, unlike its other form mentioned above, is formulated to release the active ingredient slowly all day instead of all at once. If you need to buy Lescol XL, you can buy it through NorthWestPharmacy.com for about $2.40 per pill.
Wondering which statin you should take?
The simple answer is one you’ve heard before, but it bears repeating: Talk to your doctor. Your doctor will be able to weigh all of the different factors in your unique situation and figure out which statin is the most likely to solve problems for you without causing others.
The considerations your doctor will weigh before prescribing you a statin may include:
- Any symptoms your high cholesterol may be causing
- Exactly how high your cholesterol may be
- What other medications you may be taking
- Whether any previous statins have caused you side effects
What are the common side effects of statins, you may ask?
Here’s a quick primer of symptoms to look out for.
Potential Side Effects and Considerations When Taking Statins
Like all medications, statins come with a set of considerations and potential side effects.
Some of the common side effects of statins include:
- Muscle pain
- Nasal congestion
- UTIs (or, in some cases, reduced UTIs)
In some rare cases, statin use can lead to more severe muscle damage. If you notice chronic or worsening muscle pain or fatigue when taking a statin, talk to your doctor to see if you can find a safer alternative to pursue.
Dietary and Lifestyle Considerations for Cholesterol Management
In addition to making your daily statin dose a part of your nightly routine, what other ways you can tweak your lifestyle to support cholesterol management and overall heart health?
Examples of lifestyle changes you could implement involve tackling your diet, exercise, and stress levels.
While it may not be possible to incorporate all of these strategies into your lifestyle, selecting one or two that feel achievable may help you feel better!
The Role of Diet in Cholesterol Levels
In general, foods that are high in saturated, trans fats, or cholesterol can raise your LDL cholesterol levels.
These foods may include:
- Dairy products
- Cookies, cakes, and pastry
As a general rule of thumb, many animal products will contain cholesterol. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Your body has systems in place to reduce cholesterol taken in from your diet. However, if you’re experiencing heightened cholesterol levels, it can be a helpful practice to avoid eating excess amounts of cholesterol-laden or fatty foods regularly.
Foods that are high in fiber help lower your levels of “bad” cholesterol. Examples of these foods may include:
- Legumes and beans
- Whole grains, such as oats and barley
- Nuts and seeds
- Fruits and vegetables
- Fish, as a source of triglyceride-lowering omega-3 fatty acids
The Importance of Exercise in Managing Cholesterol
How much you move your body can affect your cholesterol levels, too.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get 75 minutes of high-intensity movement (or “aerobic activity) per week, or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity movement. That breaks down to about one 20-minute walk per day.
If that level of activity is feasible for you, know that it may help you with your cholesterol management. If you already walk or get your heart rate up daily, it may help to consider strength training activities when they fit in your schedule, as strength training can help balance cholesterol levels as well.
Are There Other Lifestyle Changes That Can Support Healthy Cholesterol Levels?
Yes, there are things you can do outside of diet and exercise that can help you reduce unhelpful cholesterol and keep your heart happy.
For example, when it’s possible, consider:
- Limiting your alcohol intake
- Quitting smoking or drug use
- Reducing stressors to a minimum
- Getting the amount of sleep that works for you
- Maintaining a healthy weight
Lastly, it’s essential to know that some foods are off-limits when you’re taking a statin medication.
One you’ll likely hear about from your doctor is grapefruit juice.
This can seem relatively random, but there’s a good reason. Grapefruit juice contains compounds that interfere with the way your liver interacts with statins.
As a result, if you have grapefruit juice while on a statin, your statin could work unpredictably, leading to either more cholesterol in your system than you want, or far less (which is also unhealthy).
Worse, if the compounds in grapefruit juice increase the potency of your typical statin dose, that could result in more severe side effects and cause you to question your medication strategy when it might otherwise be working well for you.
It’s a good idea to avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice entirely when possible. If you have already had some grapefruit juice, or realize you’ve had something (like a smoothie or a baked good) with grapefruit or grapefruit juice in it, don’t worry too much about it. Keep a close eye on your symptoms, and talk to your doctor if anything concerning occurs after your accidental grapefruit exposure.
Need to Source Your Nightly Statin? Start at NorthWestPharmacy.com
Managing cholesterol is a long-term commitment, and understanding your medication is a step in the right direction.
Whether you’re struggling with a chronic condition, like hyperlipidemia, that requires costly statin meds or need something more timely, like seasonal allergy support, you shouldn’t have to feel like you’re unable to obtain the medication you need to feel at your best.
We realize that this can feel like a tall order for many Americans. That’s why our team of trained, empathetic pharmacists and customer care specialists is here to help you find and purchase the prescription and non-prescription medications you need at reliably low prices.
Wondering how it works? We’ve got you covered. All you need to do is:
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That’s it – before you know it, you’ll have the medication you need shipped directly to you. (And you won’t even need to leave your home or get in your car.)
If you’re excited to find a way to save on the best statins for cholesterol by buying your medication through an online Canadian pharmacy, the team at NorthWestPharmacy.com is here to help. Call our team at 1.866.539.5330 with any questions you may have, or email us, and we’ll get back to you with a timely response.
Interested in learning more about us, first? Check out our Canadian online pharmacy reviews. We’re excited to help you ship your required medications from Canada (and internationally) to America as affordably as possible.