What to do if Zoloft makes you tired all day? (7+ tips to manage it)
The following tips can help if Zoloft makes you tired all day:
- Start your day with a high-protein breakfast
- Stay active
- Take Zoloft at night
- Stay hydrated
- Avoid having caffeine after 4 pm
- Sleep well
- Try to lose weight if you’re overweight/obese
Start your day with a high-protein breakfast
Start your day with a high-protein breakfast, as it’s the most important meal of the day. Some options include:
|Classic Protein Breakfast
|Scrambled eggs with spinach and feta
|Scramble eggs with fresh spinach, and top with crumbled feta.
|Whole-grain toast with avocado
|Spread mashed avocado on whole-grain toast.
|Greek yoghurt parfait
|Layer Greek yoghurt with mixed berries and granola.
|Vegetarian Protein Boost
|Vegetarian breakfast burrito
|Wrap black beans and scrambled tofu in a whole-grain tortilla, and top with salsa.
|Blend protein powder, almond milk, banana, and peanut butter.
|Cottage cheese with pineapple
|Combine cottage cheese with fresh pineapple chunks.
|Quick and Nutrient-Rich
|Nutty quinoa bowl
|Mix cooked quinoa with almond slices, and drizzle with honey.
|Hard-Boiled Eggs with Hummus
|Dip hard-boiled eggs into hummus.
|Chia Seed Pudding
|Mix chia seeds with almond milk and vanilla extract, and let it sit until it thickens.
Eating a good breakfast kick-starts your day and significantly impacts your energy levels. Research shows that people who start their day with a healthy breakfast have higher energy levels throughout the day than those who tend to skip it (1). So, if your antidepressant makes you tired, eating a good breakfast can help.
Staying active is another important factor that can affect your energy levels (2). If you’re leading a sedentary lifestyle or don’t move much, you’ll find Zoloft-induced tiredness a bit overwhelming.
So, it’s important to keep moving. If your daily routine does not involve staying active or if you have a desk job, you should take some time out for exercise. Even going for a walk can help improve your energy levels and your overall mood.
In general, Zoloft-induced tiredness is not expected to stay for a long time, and these side effects do begin to fade away with time. However, staying active or leading an overall healthy lifestyle can help manage this tiredness and improve your depression symptoms.
Take Zoloft at night
Another thing that can help with your tiredness is taking Zoloft at night. Zoloft and other antidepressants can affect people differently, and both tiredness/drowsiness and insomnia are listed as side effects (3). So, the timing at which you take Zoloft can be adjusted based on the side effects you are experiencing.
The antidepressant is typically taken in the morning; however, if it makes you feel tired all day or affects your mental alertness, you can talk to your doctor about switching to night time. This can help you sleep, and your energy levels won’t be affected that intensely during the day.
It is also important to make sure that you stay hydrated. Water is linked to energy levels in so many ways (4). The majority of our body is composed of water, and we require water for normal physiological processes. Energy production also needs water to undergo the essential chemical reactions.
Dehydration, on the other hand, can lead to low energy levels itself. So, make sure you drink enough water. You can add fruits and veggies, like apples, kiwi, citrus fruits (except grapefruit, which shouldn’t be used with Zoloft), cucumbers, etc., to your water.
This makes your water nutritious and refreshing. However, make sure you do not drink sugary drinks, as sugar intake can also cause lethargy.
Avoid having caffeine after 4 pm
It is important to make sure that you do not take caffeine after 4 pm. Caffeine is not necessarily contraindicated to take with Zoloft, but you need to make sure that you’re not consuming high amounts. This is because caffeine and Zoloft can cause some additive side effects (5).
However, drinking a cup or two of coffee while taking Zoloft shouldn’t affect you, and having a cup with your breakfast is fine – but avoid caffeine intake in the evening.
This is because drinking caffeinated beverages late in the day can affect your sleep hygiene. Inadequate sleep is one of the most common reasons why a person may feel lethargic during the day.
Maintaining good sleep hygiene is important to ensure high energy levels during the day. If you don’t sleep well at night, the next day feels heavy, and it takes a lot of effort to even perform your normal life activities (6).
If you’ve been having trouble sleeping since you started taking Zoloft, you should talk to your provider about it. Some people may experience both tiredness and insomnia while taking Zoloft, so it should be discussed properly.
Try to lose weight if you’re overweight/obese
If you’re an overweight or obese individual, Zoloft might affect your energy levels more. This is because excess body weight affects your energy levels on its own. So, it’s best to opt for a healthy diet, avoid sugary foods or complex carbs, and incorporate fitness into your life.
It is also important to make sure that you aren’t skipping meals while trying to lose weight. Starving yourself isn’t the best solution, and you should focus on getting enough calories that your body needs to function properly.
Psychotherapy can also help with fatigue. Research shows that such therapies can help you process your emotions which may affect your energy level or motivation to be active or productive (7).
This is because your brain has a lot to do with your body’s normal functioning, which includes your energy levels. So, psychotherapy helps manage these emotions, and it also speeds up your mental recovery by complementing the antidepressant.
What to do if Zoloft-induced tiredness persists?
If Zoloft-induced tiredness persists and nothing you do helps to make it go away, please reach out to your healthcare provider. It’s not uncommon for people to feel tired during the early course of their treatment with Zoloft.
However, this does start getting better with time as your body adjusts to the medication. If you persistently feel tired and it starts affecting your daily activities, you should report it to your provider.
Your doctor may adjust your dose, especially if you’re new on antidepressants or your dose has recently been increased. This helps give your body more time to adjust.
However, Zoloft may not work well for everyone. If you keep experiencing side effects, your doctor may consider alternative treatments. It is important to know that you should never make any changes to your prescription on your own.
Managing energy levels while taking Zoloft
In my experience as a pharmacist, I have come across many people complaining about low energy levels while taking Zoloft. This is a well-known early side effect of this antidepressant and does get better with time.
Depression itself affects your energy levels and kills your motivation to be productive or active. Zoloft tends to make it better with time. If you’re new to Zoloft, I suggest giving some time for the medication to kick in. However, if you continue to experience excessive tiredness, talking to your provider is crucial.
- Sievert K, Hussain SM, Page MJ, Wang Y, Hughes HJ, Malek M, Cicuttini FM. Effect of breakfast on weight and energy intake: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ. 2019 Jan 30;364:l42. doi: 10.1136/bmj.l42. PMID: 30700403; PMCID: PMC6352874. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30700403/
- van Baak MA. Physical activity and energy balance. Public Health Nutr. 1999 Sep;2(3A):335-9. doi: 10.1017/s1368980099000452. PMID: 10610070. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10610070/
- National Library of Medicine. Sertraline: MedlinePlus Drug Information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. National Library of Medicine. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a697048.html
- Popkin BM, D’Anci KE, Rosenberg IH. Water, hydration, and health. Nutr Rev. 2010 Aug;68(8):439-58. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x. PMID: 20646222; PMCID: PMC2908954. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/
- Broderick PJ, Benjamin AB, Dennis LW. Caffeine and psychiatric medication interactions: a review. J Okla State Med Assoc. 2005 Aug;98(8):380-4. PMID: 16206866. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16206866/
- St-Onge MP. The role of sleep duration in the regulation of energy balance: effects on energy intakes and expenditure. J Clin Sleep Med. 2013 Jan 15;9(1):73-80. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.2348. PMID: 23319909; PMCID: PMC3525993. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23319909/
- Adamson J, Ali S, Santhouse A, Wessely S, Chalder T. Cognitive behavioural therapy for chronic fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome: outcomes from a specialist clinic in the UK. J R Soc Med. 2020 Oct;113(10):394-402. doi: 10.1177/0141076820951545. Epub 2020 Sep 15. PMID: 32930040; PMCID: PMC7583448. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32930040/