min read
October 31, 2023

Amitriptyline for Sleep – Good or Bad?

Sleep is a fundamental aspect of our overall well-being, and when it’s disrupted, it can have a significant impact on our daily lives. Whether you struggle with chronic insomnia, restless legs syndrome, or other sleep disorders, finding an effective solution is crucial. One medication that has gained attention for its potential in treating sleeping disorders is amitriptyline.

Amitriptyline and Sleeping Disorders

Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant that has been used for decades to manage various medical conditions. While it’s primarily known for its antidepressant properties, it has found its place in the treatment of sleeping disorders and chronic pain. Your GP could prescribe you Amitriptyline for insomnia because it is known to have a sedative effect.

Amitriptyline blocks the chemical messengers, noradrenaline and serotonin, that are responsible for telling your brain that you’re in pain. Therefore, if you take amitriptyline at night as a pain reliever, you may sleep better but that doesn’t mean that the drug is improving your sleep. It may help you sleep by reducing the pain that was keeping you awake but the drug itself is not, necessarily, having a direct effect on your sleep.

Side Effects of Amitriptyline

It is essential to be aware of potential side effects of Amitriptyline, including:

  • Drowsiness: The sedative effect of amitriptyline can lead to daytime drowsiness, which can affect daily functioning.
  • Dry Mouth: Many users report experiencing dry mouth while taking amitriptyline.
  • Weight Gain: Some individuals may experience weight gain as a side effect of this medication.
  • Blurred Vision: Amitriptyline can cause blurred vision, especially at higher doses.
  • Constipation: Gastrointestinal issues like constipation can occur while taking amitriptyline.

Whilst Amitriptyline can help you get to sleep because of its sedative properties and pain-relieving effects, it is not a long-term treatment for sleep disorders like insomnia. If you have chronic or acute insomnia, medication alone may not be the sole solution to your sleep problems. Lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, creating a sleep-conducive environment, and practising relaxation techniques, should also be part of your sleep improvement plan. You may also want to consider Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). CBT-I is a highly effective and non-drug treatment for insomnia. It helps change negative thought patterns and behaviours related to sleep. Sleepio is a CBT-I treatment that works with you to develop a personalised insomnia treatment plan, empowering you to challenge negative thought patterns, establish healthy sleep habits, and enjoy restful nights of sleep.

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