Zoloft and Insomnia

by on May 24, 2012

Zoloft (Sertraline), a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) is used to treat depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder and is commonly considered a safe medication but it can cause some serious side effects. One of these side effects, insomnia, occurs in twenty eight percent of all patients taking Zoloft.

The Statistics of Zoloft and Insomnia

There have been many clinical trials involving Zoloft to ensure safety and accurate information. In these studies up to twenty eight percent of patients experience insomnia or sleep issues while taking Zoloft.

Insomnia is most common in patients taking Zoloft to treat obsessive compulsive disorder. In patients taking Zoloft to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder, PMDD, insomnia was least common. Only twelve percent of women taking Zoloft to treat PMDD reported any kind of insomnia during the clinical trials. Patients taking Zoloft should be aware of the symptoms of insomnia and talk with their doctor if the problem persists.

The Signs of Insomnia

Insomnia is characterized by a number of symptoms. If a patient has one or more of the symptoms they are considered to have insomnia. These symptoms include

  • non-refreshing sleep
  • waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep
  • difficulty falling asleep and waking up too early in the morning

If a patient begins to experience any of these symptoms while taking Zoloft, they should consult a doctor. There are a number of home remedies that may help patients find relief but some patients stop taking Zoloft to stop the effects of insomnia.

Home Remedies for Insomnia

Insomnia can be combated in many ways, such as a regular sleep-wake cycle.

  • Patients with insomnia should try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Patients shouldn’t exercise within the two hours before bedtime.
  • Napping after three in the afternoon should also be avoided.
  • Caffeine, alcohol and nicotine should be avoided in the four to six hours before bedtime.
  • Large meals should be eaten more than two hours before bedtime.
  • Winding down can also help patients rest peacefully.
  • Soft music or reading can help patients rest.
  • If sleep escapes a patient after twenty minutes of trying to fall asleep, they should do a quiet activity somewhere else and then return to bed when sleepy.

Consult a Doctor about Insomnia

Insomnia is prevalent in Zoloft users but not always a factor. If a patient begins to experience insomnia, they should consult their doctor. A physician may be able to determine the root of the problem or prescribe medication to help treat the insomnia. Insomnia can also be a symptom of the disease Zoloft is taken to treat. Many patients who experience depression also experience insomnia whether they are taking Zoloft or not. A doctor may decide to adjust the dosage of Zoloft or try another depression medication if the insomnia is worrying or harmful to the patient.

Zoloft causes insomnia in up to twenty percent of patients, but insomnia is often associated with the underlying condition Zoloft is meant to treat. If insomnia persists, patients should contact their doctors and see if there is an alternative medication or dosage of Zoloft.