Insomnia is more than just struggling through tiring days and finding yourself wide awake in the middle of the night.
It’s a sleep disorder that can have far-reaching effects on your life, sapping your energy levels, testing your mood, and decimating your productivity levels.
In some cases, it can even leave you more prone to making mistakes or having an accident.
The good news:
Insomnia isn’t something you have to be stuck with.
To help you get back on a path of healthy, recuperative sleep, your doctor may recommend a Trazodone prescription as a treatment option.
Let’s take a quick look at how this medication works and the recommended dose needed to get you back to sleep.
How Does Trazodone Help You Sleep?
Trazodone is an FDA-approved antidepressant that changes the levels of serotonin in your body, which can improve your mood, calm your nerves, and promote drowsiness - ultimately helping you fall asleep.
It's most often used as a sleep treatment to treat short-term insomnia that's the result of stressful life changes.
Serotonin’s relationship to the sleep-wake cycle is a bit complex as it's a hormone that’s been shown to both keep you awake and help you sleep. However, research does show that serotonin is needed in order for your body to produce melatonin, a hormone that signals your body its time for rest.
Doctors often prescribe Trazodone off-label to help with insomnia as studies show it to be an effective option. Additionally, it’s a medication with a low risk for dependency and isn’t considered a controlled substance.
Other off-label prescriptions commonly turned to for insomnia include Gabapentin and Hydroxyzine.
How Is Trazodone Dosed?
When used for insomnia, doctors prescribe this medication at a lower dose than they would otherwise. In fact, research has shown that taking too high a dose of the drug can have the opposite effect of keeping you wide awake.
In most cases, your prescription will be between 50-150 mg to be taken once a day shortly before bed.
Only take your prescription if you’re ready for bed and have at least seven hours to sleep. It’s also important that you not drive or engage in any activities that require you to be alert right after taking your prescription.
This medication does carry a risk of possible side effects, including feeling groggy the next morning. So your doctor will likely recommend that you start your prescription when you don’t need to be anywhere early the next day so you can understand how the medication affects you.
How Do I Know What's The Right Amount For Me?
To find out what dose of Trazodone is right for you, be sure to reach out to a doctor.
The exact dose given to you will depend on several factors, including your medical history and your experience with insomnia. In order to help your doctor determine what dose is right for you, always be sure to provide them with a completely up-to-date medical history as well as a list of all other medications you’re currently taking.
Once given a prescription, be sure to follow the directions provided. Never adjust your dose without first speaking with your doctor.
In addition to exploring sleep prescriptions, your doctor may recommend you add sleep hygiene practices as well as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) exercises to increase your chances of long-term success.
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.