Drugs Q & A

What Sleep Aids Can I Take With Wellbutrin?

Wellbutrin, also known by its generic name bupropion, is a commonly prescribed medication for treating depression and seasonal affective disorder. While Wellbutrin is generally well-tolerated, some individuals may experience sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or difficulty falling asleep.

If you are taking Wellbutrin and facing sleep issues, finding an appropriate sleep aid can be essential to improve your sleep quality and overall well-being. In this article, we’ll explore safe sleep aid options that can be used with Wellbutrin.

Understanding Wellbutrin

Wellbutrin, the brand name for the generic drug bupropion, is an antidepressant medication that belongs to the class of drugs known as norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs). Unlike many other antidepressants, Wellbutrin primarily affects the levels of two neurotransmitters in the brain: norepinephrine and dopamine.

  • Norepinephrine: Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in regulating mood, attention, and the body’s stress response. It is involved in transmitting signals between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. Normally, after norepinephrine has completed its function, it is reabsorbed back into the original releasing neuron through a process called reuptake.
  • Dopamine: Dopamine is another neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure and reward. It also influences motivation, focus, and movement control. Similar to norepinephrine, dopamine is also recycled back into the neuron that released it through reuptake.

Wellbutrin works by inhibiting the reuptake of both norepinephrine and dopamine. It accomplishes this by blocking the action of the norepinephrine transporter (NET) and the dopamine transporter (DAT). By doing so, Wellbutrin increases the levels of these neurotransmitters in the brain’s synapses (the gaps between neurons). With increased levels of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, Wellbutrin helps to strengthen the communication between neurons that utilize these neurotransmitters. This, in turn, helps to improve mood, increase focus and attention, and reduce symptoms of depression.

Notably, Wellbutrin’s mechanism of action differs from other commonly prescribed antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which primarily target serotonin levels in the brain.

It’s essential to understand that the exact way Wellbutrin works to alleviate depression is not fully understood. However, by affecting norepinephrine and dopamine levels, it is believed to contribute to the drug’s antidepressant effects.

Since Wellbutrin primarily targets norepinephrine and dopamine, it may be particularly useful for individuals who experience fatigue, lack of energy, and difficulty concentrating in addition to depressive symptoms. It is important to note that Wellbutrin may not be suitable for everyone, and its use should always be discussed with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on individual needs and medical history.

 The Connection Between Wellbutrin and Sleep Disturbances

The connection between Wellbutrin (bupropion) and sleep disturbances, specifically insomnia, is a common concern for some individuals using this medication. Wellbutrin primarily affects the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. Elevated levels of these neurotransmitters can lead to increased alertness and arousal, potentially interfering with the ability to fall asleep or maintain a restful sleep. The stimulating effects of Wellbutrin, particularly when taken close to bedtime, may contribute to sleep-related side effects.

Various factors can influence the severity of sleep disturbances, including individual sensitivity to the medication and the dosage timing. Some users may experience temporary disruptions in their sleep patterns as their bodies adjust to the medication.

What Sleep Aid Can I Take With Wellbutrin?

1.        Non-Prescription Sleep Aids

  • Melatonin: Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Taking melatonin as a sleep aid can help improve sleep quality. Since melatonin is a naturally occurring substance, it is generally safe to use with Wellbutrin. However, it’s always best to consult your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement.
  • Herbal Remedies: Certain herbal supplements, like valerian root, chamomile, and lavender, have been traditionally used to promote relaxation and better sleep. While generally safe, the effectiveness of herbal remedies can vary between individuals.

2.        Prescription Sleep Aids

  • Trazodone: Trazodone is an antidepressant medication sometimes prescribed off-label for sleep issues. It can be beneficial in improving sleep quality without interfering with the effects of Wellbutrin. Before considering the concurrent use of Wellbutrin and Trazodone, it is crucial to consult your doctor. Combining these medications may elevate the risk of seizures, a rare side effect associated with each medication. Additionally, Wellbutrin can raise the blood levels of trazodone, potentially intensifying other side effects. Taking these precautions and seeking professional advice will help ensure your safety and well-being during your treatment.
  • Sedating Antidepressants: Some sedating antidepressants, such as mirtazapine, are prescribed for both depression and sleep disturbances. These medications can complement Wellbutrin’s effects and help manage sleep issues.

Important Considerations

1.        Consult Your Healthcare Provider: Before starting any sleep aid, it’s crucial to discuss your sleep concerns with your healthcare provider. They can assess your specific situation, review your medical history, and provide personalized recommendations.

2.        Dosage Adjustments: Your doctor may consider adjusting the dosage or timing of Wellbutrin to minimize sleep-related side effects.

3.        Sleep Hygiene: Adopting good sleep hygiene practices can significantly enhance your sleep quality. Maintain a regular sleep schedule, create a calming bedtime routine, and ensure a comfortable sleep environment.


If you are taking Wellbutrin and experiencing sleep disturbances, exploring suitable sleep aid options is crucial to promote better sleep quality. Non-prescription options like melatonin and herbal remedies may be suitable for some individuals, while prescription sleep aids like trazodone or sedating antidepressants may be prescribed under medical supervision. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider to determine the best approach tailored to your specific needs and medical history. Prioritizing healthy sleep habits and managing sleep issues can significantly contribute to your overall well-being and treatment efficacy.


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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