September 5


Nighttime Blues? Here’s How to Safely Switch Your Antidepressants from Morning to Night!

By Joshua Turner

September 5, 2023

Switching antidepressants from morning to night can be daunting, especially if you’re unsure how to do it. However, it can be necessary for various reasons, including reducing side effects or improving sleep quality. Understand the process and potential side effects before making the switch.

Antidepressant meds alter neurotransmitters in the brain, affecting mood, anxiety, and other mental health symptoms. The timing of your medication can impact how it affects your body.

If you’re experiencing side effects like drowsiness or insomnia, changing your meds to nighttime may help. However, consult with your healthcare provider before changing your regimen.

Key Takeaways

  • Switching meds from morning to night can help reduce side effects and improve sleep quality.
  • They work by altering neurotransmitter levels in the brain, and the timing of taking them can affect their impact on the body.
  • Before making any regimen changes, consult your healthcare provider.

Understanding Antidepressants

They are medications used to treat depression and other mood disorders. They work by balancing the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, which affect mood, sleep, and appetite.

Types of Antidepressants

There are several types of antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

SSRIs, such as sertraline (Zoloft), fluoxetine (Prozac), and escitalopram (Lexapro), are commonly prescribed due to their effectiveness and minimal side effects.

TCAs, such as amitriptyline and nortriptyline, are an older class with more side effects and a higher risk of overdose. MAOIs, such as phenelzine (Nardil) and tranylcypromine (Parnate), are rarely used due to their potential interactions with other medications and foods.

Consider the medication’s half-life when swapping from a morning to a night dose. SSRIs, which have a longer half-life, can be taken at any time of day. TCAs and MAOIs, on the other hand, should be taken at the same time every day to maintain a consistent level in the bloodstream.

Why Switch the Time You Take Them

If you are experiencing side effects like insomnia, agitation, or drowsiness, changing the time of day when you take them can be helpful.

For instance, if you’re taking your prescription in the morning and you feel drowsy throughout the day, changing to nighttime can help you feel more alert during the day. Similarly, if you’re having trouble sleeping at night, switching to taking them in the morning could help you sleep better at night.

They can also cause anxiety and depression symptoms to worsen, especially when taken in the morning. Swapping to nighttime can help alleviate these symptoms by allowing them to work while you sleep, and you can wake up feeling refreshed and less anxious.

Your doctor can help you determine the best time to change your prescribed meds, and they can also help you monitor any changes in your symptoms or side effects. It may take time for your body to adjust to the new schedule, so be patient and give yourself time to adapt.

Consulting Your Healthcare Provider

Your doctor will assess your needs and medical history to determine if swapping your prescription is your best course of action. They may also recommend alternative treatment options or suggest adjustments to your current schedule.

They can also provide instructions on how to safely taper off your current medication and begin taking your new prescription at night. They will monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

Process of Switching Antidepressants Time

Tapering Off

Tapering off involves gradually reducing the dose of the morning antidepressant for one to two weeks while simultaneously increasing the amount of the new nighttime medicine. This helps to minimize withdrawal symptoms and prevent any potential side effects.

Direct Switch

Direct switch is another method that involves stopping the morning meds and immediately starting the new nighttime medicine at the same dose. This method is generally not recommended as it can cause withdrawal symptoms and increase the risk of side effects.

Regardless of the method used, ensure that there is a 24-hour gap between the last dose of the morning meds and the first dose of the new nighttime ones.

It is also important to note that the dose of the new nighttime pills may need to be adjusted based on individual response and tolerance.

Potential Side Effects and Symptoms

Common Side Effects

Common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, weight gain, and loss of appetite. You may also experience sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or excessive sleepiness. Sexual dysfunction can also occur, including the inability to ejaculate and losing libido.

Serious Side Effects

While rare, serious side effects can occur when interchanging medicines. Serotonin syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition that can happen when there is too much serotonin in the body. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include confusion, sweating, seizures, and convulsions.

In some cases, it can also lead to increased anger or irritability. Other serious side effects can include urinary problems, bedwetting, and headaches.

Dealing with Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms can occur when you stop taking your medication or miss a dose. They can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Flu-like symptoms

To minimize the risk of withdrawal symptoms, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Gradually tapering off your old prescription while starting the new one can help reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms.

Everyone’s experience with interchanging meds is different. Some people may experience minimal withdrawal symptoms, while others may be more challenging. Be patient with yourself and seek support from your healthcare provider if needed.

Drug Interactions and Antidepressants

Certain medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, can interact with them and cause adverse effects. Inform your healthcare provider of all medicines you are taking, including supplements and herbal remedies, to avoid any potential interactions.

One common drug interaction is monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). MAOIs should not be taken with certain foods or prescriptions, including some other antidepressants, as they can lead to a dangerous increase in blood pressure. Wait at least two weeks after stopping an MAOI before starting a new prescription.


Another potential drug interaction is with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen. These prescribed meds can increase the risk of bleeding when taken with antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Some can also interact with certain prescriptions used to treat other conditions, such as antihistamines, blood thinners, or anticonvulsants.

Patient Support and Experiences

Sharing Your Experience

One of the best ways to cope is by sharing your experience with others. This can be done through support groups, online forums, or even with close friends and family members. Talking about your experiences can help you gain valuable insight into what others have gone through and learn coping strategies that have worked for them.

Suggestions for Coping

Here are some suggestions for coping:

  • Gradually adjust your sleep schedule: Start going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night until you reach your desired bedtime.
  • Use relaxation techniques: Practice deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to help you relax and fall asleep easier.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol: These substances can interfere with sleep and make adjusting to your new medication schedule harder.


Switching antidepressants from morning to night can be a helpful solution for those who experience side effects during the day. Consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your regimen.

When making the change, keep track of any changes in your mood or symptoms. It may take a few weeks for your body to adjust to the new timing of your prescription, so be patient and give it time.

Consider other factors that may affect your sleep as well, such as caffeine and alcohol intake, and establish a consistent bedtime routine.

This can be a simple adjustment that can greatly improve your quality of life. With the guidance of your healthcare provider, you can find the best solution for your individual needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to take antidepressants?

The best time is usually in the morning. This is because most of them can cause insomnia or sleep disturbances if taken too late in the day. However, some may find that taking their medication at night works better for them, especially if they experience drowsiness or fatigue during the day.

Can I change the time I take my medication?

Yes, you can change the time you take your prescribed meds, but do so gradually and under the guidance of your doctor. Changing the time you take it abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms or other adverse effects.

How do I safely switch the time I take my antidepressant?

To safely interchange the time, talk to your doctor first. They may recommend gradually adjusting the time you take your medicine by 30 minutes to an hour each day until you reach your desired time. Following your doctor’s instructions carefully is important to avoid potential risks.

What are the potential risks of switching the time I take my antidepressant?

It can cause side effects such as dizziness, nausea, headaches, or sleep disturbances. In some cases, it can also increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors, especially in children, adolescents, and young adults. It’s crucial to discuss any potential risks with your doctor before making any changes to your regimen.

Are there any specific instructions for switching from morning to night?

Take your last morning dose at least 24 hours before your first night dose. This will help ensure it is fully metabolized before changing to the new time. You should avoid alcohol or taking other sedatives while changing your medication time.

Can I switch my Zoloft from morning to night?

Yes, you can change your Zoloft from morning to night, but talk to your doctor first. They may recommend adjusting your dose or changing to a different prescription if swapping the time of day isn’t practical or safe for you. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully and promptly report any side effects or concerns.

You might also like