Getting enough sleep each night is critical in order to feel refreshed and ready for the next day. Unfortunately, not everyone can comfortably say they sleep enough each night. In some cases, medicine may help in improving sleep.

Trazodone is one prescription medication doctors may prescribe to try to improve a patient’s sleep. The effectiveness trazodone has on a person’s sleep may differ from one individual to another, so it is critical to first consult with your physician before taking trazodone. Certain factors, including your health profile, other medications you take and specific dose may impact how well trazodone improves your sleep.

Dosage

The FDA outlines the dosage for trazodone as follows:

  • Starting dose: 150mg in divided doses daily, which may be increased by 50mg daily every three to four days. (many patients may start at a lower dosage (Ex. 12.5 mg) depending upon patient/physician)
  • Maximum dose: 400mg per day in divided doses

Note: If your doctor solely prescribes trazodone for sleep problems, the dosage may differ than above.

The FDA also recommends taking trazodone after a meal or light snack. Keep in mind, dosage and dosage instructions may vary from one person to another, so follow your prescriber’s instructions on dosage.

For more information regarding trazodone dosage, visit our dosage page.

Side Effects

During treatment with trazodone, you may experience certain side effects. Some of the most common potential side effects from taking trazodone, according to the FDA, include but are not limited to:

  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Blurred vision

The FDA also warns that excessive sleepiness or dizziness could occur if you consume alcohol and/or take other sleep aids while taking trazodone. It is generally not recommended to consume alcohol while taking trazodone.

Before taking trazodone for sleep, talk with your doctor about all potential side effects. Your individual health profile, dosage and other medication(s) you take could all affect the severity or occurrence of any side effects you may experience.

For more information about trazodone side effects, visit our side effects page.

Benefits

Trazodone is commonly prescribed to treat sleep problems, as well as anxiety and/or depression. In some cases where the patient may be struggling with anxiety and/or depression, their sleep may falter as a result, too.

It is critical to always talk with your physician about the potential benefits of taking trazodone for sleep issues, as well as track your symptoms throughout treatment to see if they have improved.

Some of the benefits of taking trazodone for sleep include:

  • Treatment for anxiety and/or depression. As mentioned before, trazodone can also treat anxiety and depression. If you experience anxiety and/or depression, as well as sleep issues, trazodone may be able to treat all three symptoms. It is critical, however, to inform your prescriber about all of your symptoms related to anxiety, depression and sleep before taking trazodone, so that they will be able to prescribe the best dose for your individual needs.
  • Treatment for sleep issues related to anxiety and/or depression.
  • Treatment for sleep disorders. While some people experience frequent sleep issues, others experience chronic sleep problems, which are often characterized or diagnosed as sleep disorders. Trazodone has been known to treat sleep disorders, such as insomnia. A 2017 study concluded that trazodone improved sleep quality and daytime functioning in participants with insomnia.

Always talk with your physician about the potential benefits trazodone may have on anxiety, depression and/or sleep issues. When necessary, talk with your physician about seeking mental health help.

Risks

Taking trazodone for sleep comes with some risk including but not limited to:

  • Excessive sleepiness or tiredness
  • Interactions with other drugs
  • Withdrawal symptoms, which could lead to worsening or continued anxiety and/or sleep problems

Risks and adverse reactions of taking trazodone may be higher for certain individuals, including but not limited to,:

  • Pregnant and/or breastfeeding women. Trazodone is generally not recommended for pregnant and/or breastfeeding women.
  • People with addiction problems or Substance Use Disorders (SUDs). When combined with certain central nervous system (CNS) depressants, such as alcohol, the chance of overdosing on trazodone can increase.
  • Adolescents, young adults and children. Certain side effects, such as suicidal ideation, may be more common in young adults, adolescents and children who take trazodone.

One of the most serious risks of taking trazodone is overdose. It is critical to talk with your doctor about the risks associated with overdosing on trazodone.

Some of the symptoms of a potential trazodone overdose include but are not limited to:

  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Seizures

If you believe you have overdosed on trazodone, call 911 immediately and seek medical attention.

Final Thoughts

Everyone struggles with sleep issues at some point. If you, however, experience frequent, ongoing sleep problems, you may need to seek medical advice. While trazodone is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, depression and even sleep issues, it is not for everyone. Alongside your physician, you must review all potential side effects, risks and interactions from taking trazodone.

Furthermore, if your sleep problems align with chronic symptoms, you should talk with your doctor about sleep disorders to see if you might have one. Your doctor might recommend participating in a sleep study to see if your sleep issues align with the symptoms of a sleep disorder.

Because every person’s health profile is unique, trazodone may or may not be the right medication, depending on various other factors, including any other medical conditions or medication(s) you take. Always talk with your physician about the potential risks and benefits of a drug before taking it.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide or self harm, seek help immediately by calling the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.


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