Zoloft and insomnia are associated because sleep disturbances are a common side effect of Zoloft. Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, difficulty remaining asleep, waking too early, or generally not getting quality REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
According to research studies, insomnia may occur in up to 28% of people taking the medication. Sleep disturbances such as insomnia occur mostly in folks taking the medication for OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).
What Is Zoloft?
Zoloft is a prescription medication used to treat depression, anxiety, panic attacks, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and other conditions.
It is an selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that works by interacting with the chemicals in the brain that contribute to symptoms of depression and other conditions.
How To Avoid Insomnia
For those who suffer from insomnia while taking Zoloft, there are some things you can do to minimize sleep disturbances. Avoid or totally eliminate substances such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, especially during the second half of your day or four to six hours prior to bedtime.
Caffeine and nicotine are obviously stimulants that can disrupt sleep. On the other hand, alcohol is a depressant that eventually causes one to "pass out.” However, consuming alcohol does not result in restful sleep because your body spends its resting state processing the alcohol in your system which results in waking up tired.
Exercise improves restful sleep, but do not exercise within two hours before going to bed. In addition, napping late in the afternoon may also hinder falling asleep later in the day.
Set a sleep cycle by trying to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. This helps set a routine. Sleep in a dark, quiet room at a comfortable temperature, and unwind 30 minutes before bedtime by engaging in a relaxed activity such as reading.
One of the worst things one can do before going to sleep is stimulating the brain with video games or television. New research indicates this prevents restful sleep, may contribute to health problems such as diabetes and obesity, may help prevent weight loss, and can even result in a “video game hangover.”
There is a connection between insomnia and taking Zoloft. If you experience insomnia while taking Zoloft, inform your doctor. Sleep disturbances may be a side effect of Zoloft, but it is also a symptom of depression. Your doctor can help determine which it may be, and adjust your dosage if necessary or try another medication.
Get Dr. Kensington's FREE ADHD Newsletter!