We’ve all been there before:
Exhausted out of our minds but still somehow unable to fall asleep.
Insomnia can push our bodies to the limit, cripple our energy levels, and use up what’s left of our mental power. This is especially true when despite experimenting with sleep hygiene and over-the-counter sleep aids, we’re still wide awake.
Trazodone is a prescription medication that’s often prescribed by doctors in cases exactly like these – in instances where our sleeplessness still prevails well past everything else you’ve tried.
An anti-depressant that’s most often used to minimize symptoms of anxiety and depression, the calming side effects of Trazodone have made it an effective sleep option for many. And as an extra benefit, unlike some other sleep prescriptions like Ambien, Trazodone has a low risk of dependency and isn’t listed as a controlled substance.
Below we’ll dive a little deeper into what to expect if you’re given a Trazodone prescription by your doctor, including how long the medication lasts.
How Long Does Trazodone Work For Sleep?
When used to treat insomnia, Trazodone should be taken right before bed. When taken at the dosage given to you, it’ll help you stay asleep for a full 7-9 hours of sleep.
Sounds pretty dreamy after weeks or even months of lackluster rest.
One important thing to point out here is that you should absolutely only take your prescription right before bed when you don’t have any other obligations to fill for the night. Trazodone has been shown to be fast-acting for many, so it’s important to be done with your day and ready for bed.
You should make sure you aren’t driving or doing any other activities that require you to focus after you’ve taken Trazodone.
How Long Does It Take Trazodone To Leave Your System?
Trazodone’s half-life is between 5 and 13 hours. This means the medication will most likely stick around in your system for up to the next 40 hours after you’ve taken your dose.
It’s important to point out that the effects of the prescription won’t necessarily last for that long.
Most doctors prescribe a low dose of Trazodone to help with sleep, so the medication’s sleep aid effects are usually gone after the first half-life.
However, some people do report feeling groggy the following morning. So it’s imperative that you not drive or do anything that requires you to be alert the next morning. In some cases, you can feel more alert than you actually are. So it’s important to take a few extra precautions until you understand how the medication affects you and for how long.
Most doctors will recommend you try out your first few doses on days when you don’t need to drive anywhere or don’t have any commitments to be anywhere first thing in the morning to help you acclimate.
If you do find that you’re waking up groggy or that the effects are lasting too long after trying Trazodone for a few days, your doctor may opt to adjust your prescribed dosage or try another sleep treatment altogether.
As Trazodone is a prescription medication, you should always consult with a doctor before giving it a try for sleep. Once given a prescription, be sure to follow the directions given to you by your doctor.
Reviewed by Dr. Alex Dimitriu
Dr. Alex Dimitriu is a Stanford-trained physician with dual board certification in psychiatry and sleep medicine. The included content is not intended to replace medical advice. Always be sure to discuss any prescription medications with your doctor.