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Melatonin and Zoloft: Is It Safe to Take Them Together?

Kristin Hall, FNP

Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 3/14/2022

Melatonin is a common over-the-counter sleep aid. It’s widely available and equally widely used, with millions of Americans reportedly using it every year, according to National Health Statistic Reports.

Common uses for melatonin supplements include helping with sleep in people who are battling jet lag or affected by delayed sleep-wake phase disorder (DSWPD). It is a condition where people have “great difficulty initiating sleep at an appropriately early time, and, as a knock-on effect, waking at a desirable time in the morning, leading to chronic, and often quite severe sleep restriction trying to conform to a nine-to-five schedule,” according to an article published in the Journal of Thoracic Disease.  

If you’re prescribed Zoloft® (a.k.a., sertraline, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), you may have wondered whether or not it’s safe to take melatonin with your antidepressants. 

The use of melatonin with antidepressant drugs may potentially increase your risk of some side effects, including sedation. As such, it’s important that you talk to your healthcare provider before you use these medications together. 

Below, we’ve explained more about what you should be aware of if you’re prescribed Zoloft and want to use melatonin to fall asleep. We’ve also explained how supplements such as melatonin works in your body. 

Learn more about sertraline in our complete guide.

What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone. It’s produced naturally by your body in response to darkness. As the sun sets and light levels begin to decrease, your pineal gland secretes melatonin, causing you to feel tired and sleepy late at night, according to an article published in the journal, Brain Disorders and Therapy.

You can purchase melatonin as a supplement, typically in the form of capsules or tablets, to help if you have trouble sleeping. Because it is considered a health supplement, melatonin is regulated less strictly by the FDA than medications and can be purchased over the counter from drugstores, health food stores and online. Melatonin is not a prescription drug. 

Although research overall is mixed, some studies have found that higher melatonin levels may make it easier to fall asleep and have benefits for a quality sleep pattern, according to an article published in the journal, Neurological Research

For most people, melatonin is a safe supplement for short-term use in controlling sleep problems. However, like many other supplements, it may cause side effects, according to an article published in the journal, StatPearls.

Of these, the most common are nausea, drowsiness, dry mouth, daytime sleepiness and headaches. Additionally, melatonin could worsen blood pressure in people who take blood pressure meds, according to a study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

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Can You Take Melatonin With Zoloft?

Yes, you can use melatonin and Zoloft together. Zoloft (sertraline) and other SSRIs can cause insomnia, which means it wouldn’t be unusual for people prescribed Zoloft to consider sleep aids such as melatonin. 

Currently, there isn’t very much research on the effects of melatonin and Zoloft together. While there are no reported drug interactions between melatonin and Zoloft, melatonin may make certain antidepressants less effective.

Because of this, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider before using melatonin and Zoloft at the same time. They’ll be able to tell you about potential safety risks and offer personalized help to make sure that you stay safe while using your medication. 

Other Ways to Treat Insomnia from Zoloft at Home

The sleep disorder insomnia is one of the more common side effects of antidepressants such as Zoloft. In fact, data from clinical trials shows that 20 percent of people who use Zoloft report at least some degree of insomnia during treatment.

If you find it difficult to fall or stay asleep while using Zoloft, making a few changes to your habits and lifestyle can often help. Try the following techniques to make falling asleep easier while you use Zoloft: 

  • Take Zoloft in the morning. If you find it difficult to sleep at night, try taking Zoloft earlier in the day. The best time to take Zoloft for sleep would be in the morning. Make sure to talk to your healthcare provider first to check that it’s okay to take your medication at this time.

  • Exercise regularly during the day. Exercise, especially in the morning and afternoon, may help to improve your sleep quality. Try to do at least 30 minutes of exercise, five days per week, ideally at a moderate to vigorous intensity level.

  • Make sure not to drink alcohol. Drinking alcohol is not recommended while you are prescribed Zoloft. Alcohol, especially in excess, may also have a negative effect on your sleep quality.

  • Avoid caffeinated drinks after midday. Caffeine’s elimination half-life may be as long as 9.5 hours, meaning a single cup of coffee can have a lasting negative effect on your ability to fall asleep, according to the book, Caffeine for the Sustainment of Mental Task Performance: Formulations for Military Operations. As such, it’s best to avoid caffeine after midday.

  • Turn off technology an hour before you need to sleep. Finally, try switching off your computer, tablet or any other electronic device with a screen one hour before you want to sleep. This may help to stimulate your body’s own melatonin production.

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Melatonin and Zoloft: Final Thoughts

If you’re currently prescribed Zoloft, talk to your healthcare provider before you use melatonin or any other sleep aids. Also, try using the techniques listed above to relax, unwind and fall asleep more easily while you’re taking Zoloft. 

Good sleep is essential for your mental health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to come by. Our complete guide to science-backed techniques for better sleep explains what you can do to improve your sleep for better health and a higher quality of life.

12 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. Alcohol and sleep. Sleep Foundation. (2022, January 31). Retrieved February 17, 2022, from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/alcohol-and-sleep
  2. authors, A., & Xie, Z. (n.d.). A review of sleep disorders and Melatonin. Taylor & Francis. Retrieved February 17, 2022, from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01616412.2017.1315864
  3. Barnes, et al. (2015, February 10). Trends in the use of complementary health approaches among adults: United States, 2002-2012. National health statistics reports. Retrieved February 17, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4573565/
  4. Can Electronics Affect Quality Sleep? Sleep Foundation. (2020, November 6). Retrieved February 17, 2022, from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/why-electronics-may-stimulate-you-bed
  5. Fogari, et al. (2000, May). Cardiovascular effects of melatonin in hypertensive patients well controlled by Nifedipine: A 24-hour study. British journal of clinical pharmacology. Retrieved February 17, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2014953/
  6. Girardin, et al. (2014). Melatonin, the hormone of darkness: From sleep promotion to ebola treatment. Brain disorders & therapy. Retrieved February 17, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4334454/
  7. How can exercise affect sleep? Sleep Foundation. (2021, December 9). Retrieved February 17, 2022, from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-exercise-impacts-sleep-quality
  8. National Academy Press. (2001). Caffeine for the sustainment of mental task performance formulations for military operations.
  9. Nesbitt, A. D. (2018, January). Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder. Journal of thoracic disease. Retrieved February 17, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5803043/
  10. Office of the Commissioner. (n.d.). Dietary supplements. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved February 17, 2022, from https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/dietary-supplements
  11. Savage, R. A. (2021, August 15). Melatonin. StatPearls Internet. Retrieved February 17, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK534823/
  12. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Melatonin: What you need to know. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Retrieved February 17, 2022, from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/melatonin-what-you-need-to-know

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. Learn more about our editorial standards here.