In this blog post, we are going to talk about sleeping aids which are safe to be taken with lexapro. Lexapro is an antidepressant which interacts with many other chemicals.
This blog will help you understand in what conditions the sleeping aids are safe to take and we will also discuss some natural ways to help treat your insomnia and nocturnal restlessness.
Is there any sleep aid which can be used with lexapro?
There are multiple sleep aids which can be used with lexapro, like benzodiazepines or one of the three Zs (Zolpidem, zaleplon or zopiclone/eszopiclone), but only if prescribed by your doctor.
The combination of these with lexapro can help relieve your insomnia associated with either the depression or the antidepressant itself.
These meds, however, should be used with extreme caution and only when your doctor prescribes it. The dose at which you combine these meds with your lexapro also makes a huge difference.
Some studies suggest that the use of low dose benzodiazepines like clonazepam (Klonopin) or alprazolam (xanax), till your antidepressant kicks in, can help you manage some of the early side effects. Lexapro can cause anxiety and insomnia in the first few days of treatment.
One pharmaceutical company performed clinical trials to study the effects of Ambien (Zolpidem tartrate) and Lexapro together for the treatment of comorbid depression and insomnia.
The trial concluded that this combination can be efficacious in providing relief in the symptoms associated with both of these conditions.
However, it was found extremely important to maintain doses of the two drugs together and the duration of treatment with zolpidem, as sleeping aids can not be used for a longer period of time because of the risk of addiction.
Another study revealed that the concomitant use of lexapro and lunesta (Eszopiclone) can help relieve the symptoms of general anxiety and insomnia.
This combination, is in fact, preferred for such conditions because researchers found no relapse of insomnia after discontinuing lunesta.
Drawbacks of using Lexapro and sleeping aids together
The biggest possible drawback of using these meds together is increased sedation.
Lexapro can cause drowsiness, tiredness and fatigue in some people and the concomitant use of this antidepressant with any sleeping aid may exacerbate these side effects and increase day time fatigue, which may hinder your daily life activities.
There are several precautions that must be taken in order to achieve benefits from the use of such meds together. The dose of sleep aids should be low and they should be taken at bedtime to avoid any sedative effect during the day time.
Make sure you only start using this combination if your doctor has prescribed it. High doses are strictly prohibited because of severe psychological side effects.
Natural herbs and foods that can help you sleep
There are some natural herbs and foods that can help induce sleep. These include:
Chamomile is well known for its relaxing properties. Chamomile tea has been used for decades now to regulate good night’s sleep. Studies suggest that chamomile possesses natural antidepressant and antianxiety properties and can help stabilise your mood.
You can try its tea or use essential oil for the purpose of aromatherapy. One study indicated that chamomile can start regulating your sleep pattern within 2 weeks of its use.
Lavender is a herb which is well known for its relaxing and calming fragrance. Studies show that lavender has antidepressant and antianxiety properties and can be used to help treat insomnia associated with disturbed mood and mental condition.
This effect is possible due to the presence of silexan in lavender, which is an active chemical compound which can calm your racing mind down and help you feel relaxed. Lavender essential oil can also be used for this purpose.
Ashwagandha is a plant that’s used to make medicines. This medicinal plant is native to Africa and Asia, and is most commonly used by the Indian population.
This plant is said to be an adaptogen, which can help you respond to daily life struggle, anxiety, stress and fatigue. In some Indian practices, it is also used to treat insomnia within 3 months of its use. It is also safe to take with your antidepressant.
Passion flowers can also be used to enhance the quality of your sleep. Study suggests that this herb can help reduce the time taken for a person to fall asleep and also reduces the chances of waking up in the middle of the night.
Few studies suggest that the sedative effects of passion flower can be enhanced when it is used with other herbs like valerian root, chamomile or lavender.
It is well known for its digestive properties. Studies suggest that mint tea can help you feel relaxed and light after heavy meals, which might reduce the quality of your sleep. Mint leaves also possess muscle relaxing properties and can prepare you to fall asleep.
Research suggests that turmeric acts as a mild tranquilizer. Its pain relieving and sedative effects have made it a big part of herbal treatment. Some studies suggest that drinking lukewarm milk with turmeric can really help you calm down and induce sleep.
Leafy green vegetables
Leafy green vegetables are rich in a lot of minerals like magnesium, potassium etc, which can calm your body down. When you lie down on your bed to sleep, the relaxation you feel makes you want to close your eyes and drift off to sleep.
These minerals help enhance this kind of relaxation by working on your muscles.
Several studies suggest that carrots are packed with minerals which can help regulate your sleep cycle and increase the duration of your sleep. Carrots are rich in calcium and carotenes, which can enhance the quality of your sleep.
In fact, people with deficiency of these minerals are more susceptible to sleep disorders.
Experts revealed that banana is a rich source of tryptophan which is used as a precursor of serotonin synthesis. Serotonin, on the other hand, acts as a precursor for melatonin synthesis, a hormone which holds great importance in your sleep cycle.
Studies indicate that it’s melatonin which makes you fall asleep and when your body is deficient in this hormone, you find it extremely difficult to fall asleep.
Tips for better sleep quality
- Make sure you keep your sleeping hours constant by going to bed and getting up at the same time, everyday. This helps you to maintain the number of hours you sleep.
- Always make sure your bedroom is peaceful when it’s time to sleep. Temperature, lighting and sound should be controlled as per your liking.
- Regular exercise releases tension from your muscles and makes you feel relaxed. Exercise at least 3 to 4 times a week.
- Do not consume caffeine in the evening. The half life of caffeine is 2 to 12 hours, so make sure you do not consume it in the evening, as it might remain in your system till bedtime.
- Do not consume high amounts of food or alcohol before bedtime. You don’t need to keep your digestive system working while you sleep.
- Try to relax before you get to bed.
- Avoid smoking. Nicotine is a stimulant. As long as it remains in your system, it keeps you awake.
- If you can’t fall asleep, get up. Do something that makes you feel relaxed until you feel sleepy again.
In this blog, we discussed sleep aids which are suitable to be taken while you’re on lexapro. Lexapro is an antidepressant which might cause insomnia as a side effect during the early weeks of treatment.
In some cases, depression and anxiety induced insomnia gets so bad that an antidepressant alone can not control it in a short duration of time.
For such purposes, some healthcare providers may prescribe a benzodiazepine or one of the three Zs (Zolpidem, zaleplon or zopiclone/eszopiclone) to help relieve your insomnia.
Make sure you don’t take any medication without your doctor’s approval. There are plenty of other ways to help induce sleep. You can use natural herbs and food sources which are rich in minerals that can really help enhance your disturbed sleep cycle.
We have also discussed some tips to make your sleep quality better and to help you deal with your insomnia in a positive manner.
FAQs: What sleep aid can you take with lexapro?
Can I take sleeping pills while on Lexapro?
Sleeping pills with your antidepressant can only be taken when they are a part of your treatment regimen and your doctor has prescribed them in appropriate doses. Make sure you don’t start taking any medication without your doctor’s approval.
How can I sleep better on Lexapro?
You can try using natural herbs and food which can help you fall asleep and can enhance your sleep cycle. Some of them include:
- Passion flower
- Leafy green vegetables
- Sweet potatoes
What can I take to help me sleep while on antidepressants?
If your lexapro is causing severe insomnia, your healthcare provider might couple your treatment with a low benzodiazepine, like clonazepam (Klonopin) or alprazolam (xanax), till your antidepressant kicks in. You should not take any sleeping pill without your doctor’s approval.
Does Insomnia from Lexapro go away?
Lexapro induced insomnia begins to subside within 2 to 3 weeks of treatment. The side effects are normal with antidepressant treatment because these meds start producing side effects earlier than producing the beneficial effects.
Can Lexapro give you insomnia?
Yes, lexapro is associated with insomnia and other systems like restlessness, dizziness, nausea, tiredness etc. These side effects start to fade away once your body adjusts to the medication.
Should I take my Lexapro at night?
If your lexapro causes drowsiness, tiredness or fatigue, dizziness, nausea or loss of appetite, it’s best to take it at night in order to tone down the intensity of these side effects during the day time.
- Mark Pollack, MD; Gustavo Kinrys, MD; Andrew Krystal, MD (2008) – Eszopiclone Coadministered With Escitalopram in Patients With Insomnia and Comorbid Generalized Anxiety Disorder https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/482706
- Clinical trials performed by Sanofi (2006) – Ambien CR For Treatment Of Insomnia Associated With Depression When Used Concomitantly With Lexapro https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00296179#outcomemeasures
- Truong Hong Hieu et al (2019) – Therapeutic efficacy and safety of chamomile for state anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia, and sleep quality: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials and quasi-randomized trials https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31006899/#:~:text=Noteworthy%2C%20our%20meta%2Danalysis%20showed,for%20sleep%20quality%20and%20GAD.
- Dilek Yıldırım et al. Complement Med Res. (2020) – The Effect of Lavender Oil on Sleep Quality and Vital Signs in Palliative Care: A Randomized Clinical Trial https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32396914/
- Erica C Jansen et al. Int J Behav Med. (2021) – Sleep Duration and Quality in Relation to Fruit and Vegetable Intake of US Young Adults: a Secondary Analysis https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32016881/