Does Prozac Cause Insomnia or Do I Take it for Insomnia? Doctors Advice on Trouble Sleeping

Prozac Cause Insomnia

If you’ve ever been on Prozac or any other SSRI anti-depressant, you may be aware of the question, “does Prozac cause insomnia as one of the side effects?”

In fact, if you look into any list of common side effects of these medications, insomnia is almost always on there. Prozac (Fluoxetine) induced insomnia is a common side effect as you start taking the medication and it lasts for the first few days to a few months.

If you struggle with depression or anxiety, it can be hard to get the rest you need. It’s perfectly normal to have trouble falling asleep sometimes — in fact, everyone does from time to time.

But when it becomes an ongoing struggle and starts impacting your life adversely, that’s when it’s time to see a doctor and get treatment. Even so, some people prefer to manage their anxiety and depression without medication as much as possible.

Fortunately, there are lots of natural ways to help with sleep — research suggests that things like meditation, reading before bedtime, and reducing your intake of caffeine have all been shown to improve sleep quality in people who struggle with insomnia. The trick is figuring out which one works the best for you.

Does Prozac Cause Insomnia?

Insomnia is always listed as one of the common side effects of Prozac and other SSRIs. Prozac has activating effects, which lead to trouble sleeping. Prozac (Fluoxetine) induced insomnia is a common side effect as you start taking the medication and it lasts for the first few days to a few months. Insomnia caused by Prozac affects 10% to 33% of people taking the medication thus making it a common side effect.

While SSRIs can cause insomnia, it’s important to note that it is a side effect that usually goes away once you stop taking the medication. If you’re currently taking an SSRI and are experiencing insomnia, you need to consult your doctor to check on the length and severity of the side effect.

Insomnia caused by SSRIs is a symptom that will not go away until your body acclimatizes to the new levels of serotonin in your system or you’ve stopped taking the drug.

If you experience insomnia after starting an SSRI, it’s probably a sign that you need a different dosage. The dosage you need is determined by several factors, including your body weight, what other medications you’re taking and your sleep patterns before you started taking the drug.

What Is Prozac?

Prozac is the brand name of a drug called fluoxetine hydrochloride. It is a type of antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). SSRIs are the most widely prescribed type of antidepressant medication.

These types of antidepressants work by increasing the amount of serotonin (a chemical in your brain) available in your brain. The theory is that this will help improve your mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

There are many types of SSRI medications, but all of them are used for the same purpose. SSRIs are generally safe and effective when taken correctly.

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia is the inability to fall or stay asleep, or sleep that is of poor quality. There are five main types of insomnia:

  • Acute insomnia.
  • Chronic insomnia.
  • Onset insomnia.
  • Maintenance insomnia.
  • Behavioral insomnia of childhood.

In most times, Prozac causes Acute insomnia or onset insomnia. Insomnia is a common problem and affects many people. As many as 1 in 3 adults has insomnia. There are many things that can cause insomnia. Stress, anxiety, depression, and being too active before bedtime are just a few examples.

What Causes Insomnia?

There are many reasons why you might experience insomnia. Some of the most common include:

  • Irregular sleep schedule,
  • Medications including SSRIs like Prozac,
  • Mental health disorders like anxiety and depression,
  • Neurological problems,
  • Physical illnesses and pain,
  • Poor sleeping habits, 
  • Specific sleep disorders.

Insomnia is usually treatable. You can usually overcome insomnia by addressing the underlying cause.

Is insomnia a side effect of Prozac?

As we’ve seen, insomnia is the symptom, not the cause. Prozac causes insomnia as a side effect. People taking Prozac tend to experience insomnia for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that serotonin inhibits melatonin, a hormone in the body that helps us fall asleep.

So, when Prozac blocks serotonin reuptake and increases serotonin levels in the brain, it also inhibits melatonin and makes it harder to fall asleep.

The other reason is that Prozac increases cortisol levels, which is another hormone that impacts our ability to sleep. When cortisol levels are too high, it’s harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.

The other side effects of Prozac include:

  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness,
  • Sweating,
  • Trouble sleeping,
  • Yawning 

There are a few side effects that are rare. Some people may get alopecia from Prozac, Prozac Make you Gain Weight and other side effects.

How long does Prozac cause insomnia?

Some people may experience insomnia caused by Prozac for as long as 4 weeks, while others have reported shorter acclimatization periods.

Most people will experience insomnia as a side effect until they stop taking the drug. When you first start taking Prozac, your body goes through what is called a “Serotonin buildup period”. During this period, your body is slowly blocking the reabsorption of serotonin by blocking the receptors.

The serotonin that increases in your system causes insomnia for a few weeks or months as the body gets used to the new levels of serotonin. Once your body has acclimated to the new amount of serotonin in your system that reabsorption is being blocked by Prozac, you should start sleeping better.

Why Might Prozac Cause Insomnia?

This is the million-dollar question that we don’t have a concrete answer for. It’s important to note that insomnia is a common side effect of most SSRIs, and it usually goes away once you stop taking the medication. There are many potential reasons why Prozac and other SSRIs cause insomnia.

Some people theorize that it’s because of how SSRIs work: they cause our brains to have higher levels of serotonin, which in turn causes us to have lower levels of melatonin. Others believe that the dosage of Prozac and the timing of the dosage can also play a role.

Since the dosage of Prozac is determined by your body weight and other medications, it’s entirely possible that some people experience insomnia because they are taking too low a dosage.

How to help yourself naturally

There are various ways to help you sleep better if you are taking an SSRI. The best thing you can do is to talk to your doctor about your sleep issues. Your doctor may be able to change your dosage or recommend something else.

You can also try some natural techniques to help reduce insomnia. Exercise regularly, get plenty of sunlight, and reduce caffeine intake, for example. Meditation has also been shown to improve sleep quality, but only if you do it correctly.

The other natural method is to eat foods that are rich in melatonin. These foods include cherries and bananas among other fruits.

Finally, you can explore supplements that include vitamins and herbal products that aid in sleeping. Magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B6 are some of the common vitamins and minerals for insomnia.

Prozac, Other SSRIs, and Sleep: How to Help Yourself

There are a few things you can do to help yourself sleep better if you are taking an SSRI. The first thing you should do is talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help you understand your sleep issues and may be able to change your dosage or recommend something else.

You can also try some natural techniques to help reduce insomnia. Exercise regularly, get plenty of sunlight and reduce caffeine intake, for example. Meditation has also been shown to improve sleep quality, but only if you do it correctly.

You can also try other sleep-promoting activities like reading, meditating, and practicing yoga before bedtime. You should also make sure that your room is the right temperature and that you have enough sleep hygiene.

Make sure that your phone is on “do not disturb” and that you are not taking any important calls or checking your email in the middle of the night. This enables you to avoid any Blue-light emitting devices just before bed in the middle of the night.

Finally, if your insomnia becomes a major problem, talk to your doctor about taking a sedating medication at bedtime. The doctor may give you a low dose of a sedating antidepressant including trazodone or mirtazapine (Remeron) just before bed to ensure you have a good night sleep.

Conclusion

Prozac and other SSRIs can cause insomnia, but it usually goes away once you stop taking the medication or you get used to the medication. This is because Prozac disrupts sleep by its short term activating effects.

You can also try other sleep-promoting activities like reading, meditating, and practicing yoga before bedtime. It’s important to make sure that your room is at the right temperature and that you have enough sleep hygiene. You should also make sure that your phone is on “do not disturb” and that you are not taking any important calls or checking your email in the middle of the night.

It is always recommended that for the best results, start taking Prozac at a low dose. The medication at that low dose or when increased should be taken early enough before bed. Moreover, you can try a combination of the drug with more complex interventions using the cognitive-behavioral protocol to treat insomnia (CBT-I).

It’s also important to make sure that you talk to your doctor about your sleep issues and that you try some natural techniques to help reduce insomnia.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5548844/

Dr. David Barlow

David is a well-known researcher and author in the anxiety disorders area with extensive research on their etiology, nature, and treatment. He started the site to share his real-life experiences on the management of anxiety disorders with successful diagnosis and treatment being his motivation to write or review the content on this site.