How to Sleep While Taking Cymbalta

More than 131 million people in the United States use prescription drugs. That has the potential to create a lot of sleep disturbances, especially since insomnia is a common side effect of many popular prescriptions. Whether you’re taking medication for something relatively minor like allergies or a much more serious health issue, poor sleep is a real possibility for anyone who requires prescription drugs to be healthy.

What is Cymbalta and what does it treat?

Cymbalta is a brand of duloxetine, an antidepressant medication that works in the brain. It is approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain (DPNP), fibromyalgia, and chronic musculoskeletal pain.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Depressed mood – feeling sad, empty, or tearful
  • Feeling worthless, guilty, hopeless, and helpless
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in your usual activities
  • Sleep and eat more or less than usual (for most people it is less)
  • Low energy, trouble concentrating, or thoughts of death (suicidal thinking)
  • Psychomotor agitation (‘nervous energy’)
  • Psychomotor retardation (feeling like you are moving and thinking in slow motion)
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) occurs when a person experiences excessive anxiety or worry for at least six months. Other symptoms include:

  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue (low energy, feeling tired all the time)
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night).

What is the most important information I should know about Cymbalta?

Do not stop taking Cymbalta, even when you feel better. With input from you, your health care provider will assess how long you will need to take the medicine.

Missing doses of Cymbalta may increase your risk for relapse in your symptoms.

Stopping Cymbalta abruptly may result in one or more of the following withdrawal symptoms: irritability, nausea, feeling dizzy, vomiting, nightmares, headache, and/or paresthesias (prickling, tingling sensation on the skin).

Depression is also a part of bipolar illness. People with bipolar disorder who take antidepressants may be at risk for “switching” from depression into mania. Symptoms of mania include “high” or irritable mood, very high self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, pressure to keep talking, racing thoughts, being easily distracted, frequently involved in activities with a large risk for bad consequences (for example, excessive buying sprees).

Medical attention should be sought if serotonin syndrome is suspected. Please refer to serious side effects for signs/symptoms.

Cymbalta and sleep

Sleep is an essential function that allows your body and mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you wake up. Healthy sleep also helps the body remain healthy and stave off diseases. Without enough sleep, the brain cannot function properly. This can impair your abilities to concentrate, think clearly, and process memories.

Most adults require between seven and nine hours of nightly sleep. Children and teenagers need substantially more sleep, particularly if they are younger than five years of age. However, medications like Cymbalta can all prevent us from receiving enough sleep.

Insomnia is one of significant side effect of Cymbalta. In clinical studies:

  • 9% of people taking Cymbalta had insomnia
  • 5% of people who took a placebo had insomnia

With insomnia, you can have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. It can cause you to wake up too early. If you experience sleep issues while taking Cymbalta, talk with your doctor.

How to Sleep While Taking Cymbalta

If you think Cymbalta is making you lose sleep, you should talk to your healthcare provider about it. They may: 

  • Recommend an alternative medication
  • Reduce your medication dose
  • Recommend a supplement like melatonin to help promote sleep
  • Prescribe a stronger medication to help you sleep

There are also some strategies you can take on your own to promote better sleep. Here are a few you can try, starting today:

  • Establish a bedtime routine: Turn off bright screens and any source of blue light (like TVs, laptops, or smartphones), keep your room dim or dark, and engage in a calming activity like a bath, shower, or meditation. 
  • Avoid physical activity several hours before bedtime: Getting your heart rate up throughout the day is a great way to stay healthy and promote more sound sleep. But if you exercise too close to bedtime, your body may not have enough time to settle, which can cause trouble falling asleep. 
  • Avoid caffeine late in the day: Save your coffee and tea breaks for the morning and early afternoon. Caffeine too late in the evening can disrupt your sleep. If you enjoy warm tea to relax before bed, try a caffeine-free option like chamomile or lavender.


Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."
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