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Can Zoloft Cause Insomnia?

Can Zoloft Cause Insomnia?

Can Zoloft Cause Insomnia?

Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs.

Zoloft is the brand name for sertraline medication. Doctors prescribe Zoloft to treat social anxiety disordermajor depressive disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Along with proven positive effects, Zoloft may cause different side effects, including insomnia. Read on to know how prevalent it is and how to deal with insomnia caused by this medication.

Consult a licensed mental health professional to know what medication will help you best.

Does Sertraline Make You Sleepy?

Yes, sertraline can make you drowsy, especially as the frequency of panic and anxiety attacks reduces. Because of that, some sertraline users might notice better sleeping habits once they begin their Sertraline dosage.

Also, it is normal for Zoloft to make you tired: tiredness and fatigue are common side effects among those starting to take this drug. As you continue with your prescription, these feelings are likely to wear off.

Why Does Zoloft Cause Insomnia?

Zoloft (sertraline) falls under the drug class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) that increase the serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical neurotransmitter that stabilizes your mood and affects your sleep patterns. These changes in the brain’s chemical balance not only depict improvement in sleep cycles but can also mean developing insomnia as a side effect. So, some people start to find it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep due to taking Zoloft.

Insomnia and Zoloft can be related but for some patients, sleep disturbances may be temporary. Once your body gets used to Zoloft in your system, insomnia ends on its own. However, it is necessary to inform a doctor if insomnia lasts for a long time to get help in overcoming it.

Can Zoloft Cause Insomnia?

Zoloft and Insomnia: How to Deal with This Side Effect

Although sleep problems are a common side effect of this medication, some patients will not experience Zoloft insomnia. However, if you notice Zoloft causing insomnia, the following measures could be helpful.

1. Take Zoloft in the morning

Sertraline takes a few hours before its complete absorption in your blood. Therefore, if you take it in the morning, the concentration of Sertraline in your blood will be lower by nighttime, which is likely to prevent insomnia.

2. Practice sleep hygiene

Poor sleeping habits are sometimes responsible for insomnia. You can practice sleep hygiene by ensuring you have a set time for going to sleep and waking up. Additionally, have an ideal sleeping environment.

Also, avoid having blue light-emitting gadgets in your bedroom. These include computers, laptops, and smartphones. This way, you’ll ensure your body learns to associate your bedroom with sleep. The room should have fewer distractions while light and temperature should be conducive to sleep. Additionally, invest in a comfortable mattress and pillow. Good sleep hygiene can help reduce insomnia.

Insomnia is among the common side effects of sertraline. Contact us to know more about how to deal with it.

3. Avoid smoking and alcohol

Studies [1*]  indicate that smokers have difficulty sleeping, fragmented sleep, and sleep less due to nicotine in cigarettes. Nicotine acts as a stimulant that can disrupt your sleeping habits.

Initially, alcohol acts as a sedative, so it can make you fall asleep faster. But alcohol also disrupts rapid eye movement [2*]  sleep making it harder to rest at night. Therefore, you’ll have sleep interruptions as you wake up frequently.

4. Exercise regularly

Working out boosts your mood, releases endorphins [3*] , and helps you sleep better at night. Early morning workouts keep you in a good mood, which reduces anxiety and depression. Therefore, while your body gets used to Zoloft, regular exercises will help mitigate or eliminate the insomnia side effect.

5. Avoid caffeinated beverages before sleep

Caffeine acts as a stimulant that interferes with your sleep patterns. Therefore, you’ll have difficulty falling asleep at night when you have just had tea or coffee, or caffeinated beverages. Consequently, caffeine combined with Zoloft at night will lead to Zoloft insomnia.

6. Try another dosage after consulting your doctor

Once you inform your physician that your Zoloft prescription is causing insomnia, the doctor may decide to reduce your dosage. A different dosage can eliminate Zoloft insomnia. Don’t stop using Zoloft without your physician’s guidance.

7. Ask your doctor to prescribe another medication

Zoloft causing insomnia can require a change of medication. Instead of adjusting your Zoloft dosage, your physician may give you different medicine like Lexapro that also treats depression and anxiety disorders. The side effects of another medication may be more tolerable than those of Zoloft.

Can Zoloft Cause Insomnia?

Withdrawal Syndrome

Sertraline can cause adverse withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit your prescription abruptly, leading to insomnia as part of discontinuation syndrome. Other symptoms may include headaches, nausea, dizziness, paresthesia [4*] , and nightmares.

Therefore, weaning off of sertraline is the best way of preventing these withdrawal symptoms. Follow your doctor’s guidelines on how to reduce your Zoloft dosage slowly.

In Closing

Although Zoloft treats depression, panic disorder, and anxiety disorders, insomnia is one of its side effects. If you notice you experience Zoloft insomnia, talk to your physician for guidance. They might take one of the measures mentioned above to cure insomnia. However, don’t attempt to quit Zoloft cold turkey, as you may experience withdrawal symptoms. To get helpful recommendations and have your prescription management smooth, contact MEDvidi doctors today.


+4 sources
  1. Smoking and risk of sleep-related issues: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. (2020)
    Source link
  2. Alcohol and the Sleeping Brain. (2018)
    Source link
  3. Endorphins and exercise. (1984)
    Source link
  4. Sertraline (Zoloft)
    Source link
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology
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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.