Vistaril (Hydroxyzine) for Sleep: Dosage & Side Effects

If you struggle to sleep at night, there’s a good chance you may have a sleep disorder or a major health problem, like anxiety. Depending on what your health professional concludes, you may need to take medication in order to meet your nightly sleep requirements. There are all types of medications out there, but not all are well equipped to treat conditions outside of sleep problems. Taking Hydroxyzine for sleep is a common method to reduce the effects of sleep disorders like insomnia.

Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine that comes in the brand name Vistaril. It is used to treat anxiety, allergies and, quite frequently, problems associated with sleep. Insomnia, a common sleep disorder associated with the inability to fall or stay asleep at night, is one of many sleep disorders Vistaril can treat. Vistaril can also be used as anesthesia for surgery.

Depending on your individual medical needs, Vistaril may be used to treat more than insomnia. Hydroxyzine is among the top medications to treat insomnia accompanied by other disorders and can work great at tackling two issues at once, like anxiety and insomnia. But first, it’s important to know the basics of the medication.


The typical adult Vistaril dose is between 50 and 100 mg per day. Note: only take the dosage your doctor recommends. Your doctor may prescribe a different dosage than mentioned above, so follow their instructions accordingly.

If you forget to take a dose, only take it if it is close enough to your usual dose time. If you are closer to reaching your next dose than you are to the time of your missed dose, skip it completely.

Side Effects

Before taking Vistaril, talk with your doctor about what to expect upon starting the medication. They will be able to explain which side effects are normal and which ones aren’t, and they can best determine whether or not Vistaril is right for you.

Side effects of taking Vistaril for sleep are typically mild but may include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Constipation

There are, however, more serious bodily responses to Vistaril. If you experience any of the following side effects, call 911 immediately:

  • Seizures
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Allergic reaction that results in difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting


For safety purposes, you should not drive or operate machinery while taking Vistaril. Vistaril may have adverse reactions with alcohol, drugs or other medications, so check with your doctor before using it.

If you are breastfeeding, pregnant or plan to become pregnant, talk with your doctor before taking Vistaril. You should not take it in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Always be sure to take only the recommended dose your doctor gave you. Never exceed the amount or take it more frequently than what your doctor prescribed. [1]

What Else to Talk to Your Doctor About

Keeping an open communication with your doctor is critical in deciding whether or not to take Vistaril, or, Hydroxyzine for sleep. If you have other conditions, such as anxiety, talk to your doctor about how Vistaril will work to help your anxiety and sleep problems. Here are some important factors to mention during your visit to the doctor’s office:

  • Other medications you take and if Vistaril will interact with them
  • Any allergies to medications
  • Your mental health history and if you are currently seeking other kinds of treatment, such as talk therapy
  • Your medical history
  • Any sleep problems you experience

Remember that taking Vistaril is intended to help you sleep better and may also be taken to relieve anxiety associated with sleep problems. It is best to follow up with your doctor after a couple of weeks to determine how Vistaril works for you.


  • Hydroxyzine: an antihistamine used to treat anxiety, skin allergies and sleep disorders
  • Vistaril: the brand name for Hydroxyzine
  • Insomnia: A sleep disorder characterized by the difficulty of falling or staying asleep; chronic sleeplessness


[1] AHFS Patient Medication Information. Bethesda (MD): American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc.; c2019. Hydroxyzine; updated 2019 November 7; reviewed 2017 February 15. Retrieved from


This article is for reference purposes only. It is not to replace or complement the advice of a licensed professional, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Any and all health concerns you have should be directed at a doctor.

Further Reading

IMG 8905
Julia Quade

Side sleeper and night owl. Daily naps are a must.