Last updated on September 20th, 2018
Zoloft is a commonly prescribed drug that’s designed to help those who may be struggling with depression and/or anxiety disorders. However, Zoloft insomnia – or struggling to sleep while on Zoloft – is a common complaint for users. So, does Zoloft cause insomnia?
The answer is a bit more complicated than you might think.
Zoloft:Uses and Side Effects
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Zoloft—or its generic name, sertraline —is an FDA-approved antidepressant. It can also be used to treat panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other similar conditions.
Zoloft is considered a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor,or SSRI. This type of antidepressant functions by affecting the secretions commonly associated with emotion or mood.
Serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine are all altered or effective by SSRIs in some way, as stated by the National Institutes of Health. The manipulation of emotions via alteration of brain secretions has always been a tricky path and can lead to several side effects.
For instance, Mayo Clinic reports that several side effects have been linked to Zoloft, as well as other medicines using the generic sertraline—including irritability, reduced libido, inability to complete intercourse (in men) aggressive tendencies, sleep difficulty, and confusion.
Many of these side effects are to be expected, but anything that impacts sleep needs to be carefully considered. Sleep difficulties and insomnia can have have a serious effect on your day to day functioning and quality of life.
Zoloft’s Connection to Insomnia
Zoloft’s connection to insomnia is inherent in its design. As a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Zoloft influences nerves in the brain and alters perceptions and moods. Since serotonin is often linked to inciting sleep in the body, its effect on sleep can vary wildly.
In short—Zoloft, like all antidepressants, can cause insomnia as a side effect. This is reported both by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as from reputable organizations like Mayo Clinic and the United States Library of Medicine.
Adjusting to any mood-altering drug is going to take some time, and antidepressants are no different. For those who may be suffering from insomnia as a side effect of Zoloft, the effects may be short-lived.
For others, a foggy disposition and increased lethargy may soon become normal—much like how a lack of constant sleep due to insomnia can. While some can cope with this reality and prefer it to the alternative, others may experience worse mental health symptoms on Zoloft.
Whether Zoloft and insomnia go hand-in-hand will depend upon the individual as well as their experience. Insomnia is not always a side effect of Zoloft, so many can treat their depression symptoms without such side effects.
However, for those who need Zoloft to maintain a standard of living but are unable to sleep at night, there are several home remedies that can help.
Much like with other forms of insomnia, Zoloft-induced insomnia is often alleviated somewhat by a consistent sleep schedule and safe place to rest. If possible, go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning,ensuring that your bedroom is dark while trying to sleep.
The combination of a darkened room with that consistency will help your brain know when it is time to turn off. For others, taking more naps during the day may help to alleviate lethargy and drowsiness during the day.
Other solutions involve avoiding stimulants like caffeine in the latter half of the day and keeping your waking hours around natural lighting and greenspace, which has been shown to improve mood.
While most home remedies are effective in reducing or eliminating insomnia in those who take Zoloft, others will need to consult their doctor if symptoms persist. There are several other types of antidepressants that may be available to you that will not cause issues with sleep.
Open communication and an honest discussion with your doctor is important to getting the help you need. Zoloft is an excellent solution for many people, but it isn’t for everyone.
If you or a loved one is showing symptoms of depression, having an open discussion about the issue and seeking our professional help is one of the most important steps to take.
Once the problem is diagnosed, professional help can help you improve your mood, standard of living, and get you out of bed and back on your feet.