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Antidepressants and circadian rhythm sleep changes


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If this thread is merged with another, please PM me so that I can find it.  Thanks.



I certainly know what it's like to wake at 4:30 as a result of withdrawal from SSRIs.  That's not what I'm talking about.  I feel that my circadian rhythm has been disrupted, quite possibly by SSRI use.  If I'm on a normal sleep schedule, I'm inclined to fall asleep later and wake later until I find myself falling asleep around dawn, and waking around 3 pm.


Sometimes, I'll be tired constantly.  However, falling asleep at dawn and waking in the afternoon is pretty much the hallmark of this issue.


Has anyone else experienced this as a result of SSRI use?  Has it abated as a result of getting off of SSRIs?




various SSRI for years


20 mg Lyrica 2010

30 mg to 0 mg Prozac 2012

Reinstate 20 mg Prozac 2012

Drop to 19 mg Prozac 2013

Reinstate 20 mg Prozac 1 month later (2013)

Gradual decrease of Prozac dosage starting in late summer of 2015, currently at 11.2 mg/day


use of vitamin D3, fish oil, and magnesium at various times

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I have no proof of this but I feel like being on psych meds for years, including SSRIs, has completely messed up my sleep cycle.   Before the meds, I had an advanced phase syndrome pattern in which I wuold go to bed early and wake up early.   I feel being on the meds has made this even worse which is now complicated by sleep apnea and pap therapy intolerance.


It sounds like you have the reverse problem of mine with delayed phase syndrome issues.  Am I reading that right?


No matter what, it stinks to high heaven.

Drug cocktail 1995 - 2010
Started taper of Adderall, Wellbutrin XL, Remeron, and Doxepin in 2006
Finished taper on June 10, 2010

Temazepam on a PRN basis approximately twice a month - 2014 to 2016

Beginning in 2017 - Consumption increased to about two times per week

April 2017 - Increased to taking it full time for insomnia

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Antidepressants affect the sleep cycle, particularly REM sleep. Google to find more about this and post your findings in this topic.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • 6 months later...

Hi Music321!
I found your post via a Google search for SSRIs and circadian rhythm (vice versa of Altostrata's suggestion).   Your post echoed my own questions so I joined this forum to let you know what I've found.
Over the last 8 years, while on the SSRI Paxil, I have experienced increasing levels of circadian rhythm disruption (CRD).  During this period I have also been diagnosed with a variety of metabolic problems and put on the associated control medications.
Sometime last year I came across something online linking Paxil with CRD but I don't know where exactly.  At that time I decided that I needed to switch back to a tricyclic anti-depressant to see if my CRD got any better.  I put off the switch, however, because (as anyone having been medicated for long knows) it can be very scary to mess with psych meds.
I tried to find that original link and ended up reading a lot of published scientific research linking CRD and depression, itself.


I have a background in Astronomy research, so I'm somewhat familiar with research article formats and research methodology.  And having a science background at all boosts my confidence to explore a research field outside my comfort zone (Neurobiology).  But some papers are pretty accessible to the motivated lay person (you).



Not knowing your educational/research background, I'd suggest you start with the attached research review article.  The link in my signature is to the original location but here's the PDF with my highlighting:


Edgar 2013 10p -- MDD -- A Loss of Circadian Synchrony.pdf


My highlighting uses the following color code:

  • Sentences -- Just signposts of where a topic is discussed, not a complete summary (read the paragraph!).
  • Acronymn Expansions -- Usually where the term is defined, to help decode all the mumbo-jumbo.
  • Article Titles -- Highlighting helps me skim the references and pick more articles I'd like to find.

Yes, it gets technical but don't let that intimidate you!  Just push through and I think you'll get the big picture.



I'm considering creating a place to host all the research I've found on Depression, Anti-Depressants, Circadian Rhythms, and Known Drug Side Effects.  I have a personal website and some blogs and now this forum but I haven't decided where to put the research yet (suggestions welcome).


Hope this helps -- you're not alone,


~ Sunny

Depression / OCD / Panic Attacks:  Tricyclics for ~ 15 yrs, SSRIs for ~ 10 yrs. (Paxil, 8 yrs.)

Increasing Circadian Rhythm Disruption (CRD) while on SSRI Paxil (may not be a side effect * )

Switched back to Tricyclics, January 2015, but my CRD persists (current as of most recent post here)

Anti-depressants (esp. SSRIs) sometimes make CRD worse instead of better

CRD linked to:  Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol / Triglycerides, and other metabolism problems


*  Major Depressive Disorder may primarily be a Circadian Rhythm DYSYNCRONY of Genes

10-pg overview article, pretty accessible:

Major depressive disorder: A loss of circadian synchrony?  by Edgar, N. et al. in Bioessays, Nov 2013.

6-pg research cited in article above, somewhat technical:

Circadian patterns of gene expression in the human brain and disruption in major depressive disorder  by Li, JZ et al. in Proc of the Nat'l Academy of Sci USA, 2013.

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  • 1 year later...

Seems this thread tends to be a bit disjointed whatever Alto said is long gone.  I was looking at this again today on Google as I am once again going to sleep between 4-5 am. Right back to this again could what I have changed the last two days is added Vit C to my list of supplements... that is all. 


I happened to find this on my travels I believe it needs a place here at SA


Circadian rhythms in liver metabolism and disease 
  doi:10.1016/j.apsb.2015.01.003 Get rights and content
Open Access funded by Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Chinese Pharmaceutical Association Under a Creative Commons license

Mounting research evidence demonstrates a significant negative impact of circadian disruption on human health. Shift work, chronic jet lag and sleep disturbances are associated with increased incidence of metabolic syndrome, and consequently result in obesity, type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia. Here, these associations are reviewed with respect to liver metabolism and disease.

Graphical abstract

Shift work, chronic jet lag, and sleep disturbances are associated with increased incidence of metabolic syndrome, and consequently result in obesity, Type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia. Here, these associations are reviewed with respect to liver metabolism and disease.


They are learning new and unexpected things related to the liver and metabolism circadian rhythm  and disease.

Had a car accident in 85
Codeine was the pain med when I was release from hosp continuous use till 89
Given PROZAC by a specialist to help with nerve pain in my leg 89-90 not sure which year
Was not told a thing about it being a psych med thought it was a pain killer no info about psych side effects I went nuts had hallucinations. As I had a head injury and was diagnosed with a concussion in 85 I was sent to a head injury clinic in 1990 five years after the accident. I don't think they knew I had been on prozac I did not think it a big deal and never did finish the bottle of pills. I had tests of course lots of them. Was put into a pain clinic and given amitriptyline which stopped the withdrawal but had many side effects. But I could sleep something I had not done in a very long time the pain lessened. My mother got cancer in 94 they switched my meds to Zoloft to help deal with this pressure as I was her main care giver she died in 96. I stopped zoloft in 96 had withdrawal was put on paxil went nutty quit it ct put on resperidol quit it ct had withdrawal was put on Effexor... 2years later celexa was added 20mg then increased to 40mg huge personality change went wild. Did too fast taper off Celexa 05 as I felt unwell for a long time prior... quit Effexor 150mg ct 07 found ****** 8 months into withdrawal learned some things was banned from there in 08 have kept learning since. there is really not enough room here to put my history but I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things especially any of the drugs mentioned above.
One thing I would like to add here is this tidbit ALL OPIATES INCREASE SEROTONIN it is not a huge jump to being in chronic pain to being put on an ssri/snri and opiates will affect your antidepressants and your thinking.

As I do not update much I will put my quit date Nov. 17 2007 I quit Effexor cold turkey. 


There is a crack in everything ..That's how the light gets in :)

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In the UK we're approaching the longest day of the year - 21 June.


I have been waking up at 4/4:30am because of how light it is and also because of my really bad hayfever.


Summer is a love/hate time of year for me.

Dose History: 19 Feb 2014 - Escitalopram 10mg daily June 2015 - Started taper, 5mg every other day July 2015 - 5mg every 2 days August 2015 - 5mg every 3 days September 2015 - 5mg every 4 days Sept 14th - Completed tapering, but at 7 weeks "drug free" I suffered serious WD symptoms as a consequence of "incorrect" tapering. Nov 25 2015 - Re-instated Cipralex @ 2.5mg daily. WD symptoms faded. Held at this dose and experienced "windows and waves". 12 Oct 2017 Reduced dose to 1.25mg. 13 Mar 2018 Reduced dose to 0.625mg (approx.). 16 April 2018 0mg. Windows and waves triggered by stress (IBS/reflux, headaches, sinus issues) Aug 2019 Mirena coil fitted 6 Jan 2020 MAJOR Wave hit 19 months following last dose (protracted WD).  Symptoms listed below Mar 2020 Mirena coil removal.

Therapy: Nov 15th 2016 Re-started therapy Jan 19th 2017 Started CBT Dec 2017 Started listening to Hypnotherapy CD (self-esteem). Nov 2019 Started couples therapy.

Supplements: "Bioglan" Biotic Balance Ultimate Flora 10 billion CFU, live Bacteria, Probiotic, suitable for Vegetarians, with Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium Longum"Pukka" Vitalise a unique blend of 30 energising botanicals.

Diet: 16 April 2018 Detox cleanse / anti-candida for 90 days. Jan 2020 Started "small plate" diet (i.e child size portions).

Exercise: Stretching, Yoga, Pilates, Spinning, Elliptical/upper body workout, walking.

Medical Test Results: 4 Jan 2017 Homeopathic Treatment starts 24 Feb 2017 Started weight loss program 24 Mar 2017 Naturopathic Treatment + anti-Candida diet started due to suspected Candida Related Complex (CRC). DETOXED for 7 weeks to "re-set" gut. April 2017 "Genova Diagnostics" Comprehensive Stool Analysis NEGATIVE; Full Blood Count (Normal) / Blood Cholesterol: 5.6 (Borderline) / Blood Sugar (Normal) / 28 Jun 2017 FSH 8.2 / 14 Nov 2017 FSH 17.7 Dec 2017 Blood Cholesterol: 3.9 (Normal) / Kidney Function (Normal) / Blood Sugar (Normal). December 2017 "Genova Diagnostics" Food panel allergy (bloodwork) analysis - a few "VERY LOW/VL" allergens; Mar 2018 "Genova Diagnostics" SIBO urine analysis: High Level of Yeast/fungal markers found in small intestine but NO SIBO.  April 2018 Thyroid (Normal) / Full Blood Count (Normal) / FSH (Normal). 16 April 2018 Started anti-Candida diet - 3 month protocol.   25 March 2020 All test results "Normal". CRP" 5 mg/L (normal range to 0-5 mg/L).

Symptoms:  Flu-like symptoms, anxiety, anhedonia, sinus headaches right-side (severe), IBS issues/reflux (severe)**, tinnitus, fatigue, inner tremor, nausea, chills/hot flushes, pounding heart, muscular issues including stiff left hip flexor, intense anger, PSSD (ongoing).  **Histhamine intolerance (suspected).

Major Life Events: 

Re-located to UK from Canada: Jan 2016

My father died: 5:05pm, Monday 5 Feb 2018 Last Lexapro dose: 16 April 2018 (its now been over a year since I quit ADs)  Moved house: Friday 23rd February 2018  "Divorced" toxic Mother: Monday 26 March 2018 Starting working again: 19 November 2018  Diagnosed with: 5th August 2021 PTSD/C-PTSD Diagnosed with: March 2022 Interstitial Cystitis (IC)/Painful bladder syndrome

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