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When Is The Best Time of Day to Take Zoloft for Anxiety?

Angela Sheddan

Medically reviewed by Angela Sheddan, DNP, FNP-BC

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 11/6/2021

If you take Zoloft or are thinking about taking it for anxiety, there’s no doubt you want to do whatever you can to make sure the medication is as effective as possible. 

After all, dealing with anxiety in your daily life is tough and can have quite an impact on your life. 

And if a medical professional has suggested that Zoloft may help, you want to make sure nothing you do stands in the way of it working. 

With that, you may have heard that the time of day can affect how well certain medications work. Wondering if Zoloft is one of them? Keep reading to find out.

A Word on Anxiety

Anxiety is incredibly common. In fact, 40 million American adults are experiencing an anxiety disorder.

A common anxiety disorder in adults is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America say that those who struggle to control their anxiety more days than not over a period of six months, may be dealing with GAD.

The following symptoms are associated with GAD:

  • Feeling nervous 

  • Experiencing panic or doom

  • Increased heart rate

  • Hyperventilation 

  • Sweating

  • Tiredness and/or weakness

  • Issues concentrating

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Stomach problems

But GAD is not the only anxiety disorder. Other anxiety disorders include:

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  • Panic Disorder

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Social Anxiety Disorder

Speaking to a health care professional can help you identify if your anxiety is just occasional, run-of-the-mill nervousness or if it could be an anxiety disorder that is impacting your daily life. 

If it’s determined that you are dealing with one of these, it may be suggested that you consider anxiety medications to help manage it — like Zoloft. 

Some Background on Zoloft

Zoloft is the brand name for sertraline. It falls under the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of antidepressants.

Another fact: It is one of the most popular antidepressants on the market. More than 30 million prescriptions are written for it every year in the United States. 

So, what’s Zoloft used for? Sertraline can help treat depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic attacks. 

Some medical professionals also prescribe sertraline to treat premature ejaculation.

When it comes to treating mental health disorders, sertraline works by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain. 

In doing so, sertraline can improve overall mood, prevent panic attacks and stop behavior associated with OCD. It can also help with symptoms of anxiety. 

Zoloft (and the generic sertraline) comes in tablet form, requires a prescription, and is meant for everyday use. 

The average dose is 50mg, though it may be prescribed in a lower or higher dose. The maximum dose of Zoloft is 200mg. It generally takes four to six weeks of taking it before you may notice any effects. 

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Side Effects of Zoloft

Like most medications, there are potential side effects associated with Zoloft and the generic sertraline. Thankfully, most people either don’t experience any or only notice mild side effects. 

The most common side effects are:  

  • Headaches

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Sleepiness

  • Diarrhea

  • Dry mouth

  • Dizziness

  • Weakness

More rarely, people who take sertraline may experience severe side effects, such as: 

  • Chest pain

  • Severe dizziness

  • Sexual side effects, specifically painful erections

  • Bleeding that won’t stop

If you experience severe side effects, you should seek medical attention immediately. In fact, if you notice any unwanted side effects, you should run them by your healthcare provider. 

It’s also important to tell your healthcare provider about any other prescription medication you may be taking, as there can be drug interactions and adverse effects when you mix meds.

The Best Time of Day to Take Zoloft

If you’re taking Zoloft or sertraline for anxiety, you may be wondering what time of day you should take it. The answer is simple: It doesn’t really matter. 

What does matter? Being consistent with when you take it. You should take this medication around the same time each day. If you forget a dose, don’t double up the next day. 

One thing to consider when determining what time of day to take sertraline for anxiety is the side effects. 

If you generally have trouble sleeping, some medical professionals may recommend taking it in the morning. 

Also good to know: You can take sertraline with or without food. 

To make sure you don’t forget to take your dose, try to build it into your routine. For example, if you have breakfast at the same time each morning, you could take it then. 

Another option would be to set an alarm on your phone to go off at the same time each day.

Oh, and if you want to stop taking Zoloft, it’s important to do so under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Stopping suddenly could lead to withdrawal symptoms.

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Taking Zoloft for Anxiety

If you have an anxiety disorder like generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder or social anxiety disorder, medication may help improve your quality of life. 

An online psychiatrist will be able to assist you in figuring out what medication could work for you — or suggest other types of treatments. 

If medication is right for you, an SSRI may be prescribed, like Zoloft. It has been found to be an effective medication for anxiety. 

If you are taking Zoloft, you don’t have to worry about what time of day you take it. Whatever time you choose, you just have to make sure you are consistent and take it close to the same time each day. 

Building your Zoloft tablet into your routine can help you remember to take it. For example, you could take it with your morning orange juice each day. 

Another way to remember when to take Zoloft would be to set an alarm for the same time each day. 

If you have any other questions on whether Zoloft can help you or need guidance on your treatment plan, speak with a healthcare provider. 

8 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Facts and Statistics. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Retrieved from https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics
  2. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Retrieved from https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad
  3. Symptoms, Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Retrieved from https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad/symptoms
  4. What are the five types of anxiety disorders? U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/answers/mental-health-and-substance-abuse/what-are-the-five-major-types-of-anxiety-disorders/index.html
  5. Sertraline. Medline Plus. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a697048.html
  6. Number of sertraline hydrochloride prescriptions in the U.S. from 2004 to 2018. Statista. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/781658/sertraline-hydrochloride-prescriptions-number-in-the-us/
  7. Arafa, M., Shamloul, R., (2006, March 23). Efficacy of sertraline hydrochloride in treatment of premature ejaculation: a placebo-controlled study using a validated questionnaire. International Journal of Impotence Research, 18: 534-538. Retrieved from
  8. Sertraline. NHS. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/sertraline/#:~:text=Sertraline%20is%20one%20of%20a,called%20serotonin%20in%20the%20brain.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

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