Amitriptyline for Sleep: A Comprehensive Review

Amitriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant, is often prescribed off-label for sleep disorders due to its sedative effects. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the ins and outs of using amitriptyline for sleep, including the optimal dosage, possible side effects, and alternatives.

Understanding Amitriptyline for Sleep

Amitriptyline primarily works by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain that help elevate mood. However, one of its side effects is drowsiness, which has led to its use as a sleep aid. It’s important to remember that while amitriptyline can be effective for sleep, it’s not a first-line treatment and is typically used when other options have proven ineffective.

Amitriptyline Dosage for Sleep

The dosage of amitriptyline for sleep varies between individuals, with doses ranging from 10mg to 150mg per day. The starting dose is often low, such as 10mg or 25mg, taken several hours before bedtime. Your healthcare provider may gradually increase the dosage if necessary, but the maximum dose of amitriptyline for sleep rarely exceeds 100mg to 150mg. As with any medication, it’s crucial to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on how much amitriptyline to take for sleep.

When to Take Amitriptyline for Sleep

The best time to take amitriptyline for sleep is typically in the evening, around 8-9 pm, or as advised by your healthcare provider. This allows the medication time to start working before you go to bed. It’s also worth noting that you should try to take the medication at the same time each day to maintain a consistent level in your body.

Side Effects and Considerations

Common side effects of amitriptyline include dry mouth, constipation, blurred vision, and weight gain. Some people may experience drowsiness the next day, so it’s important to see how you react to the medication before driving or operating machinery.

Amitriptyline may not be suitable for everyone. It should be used with caution in the elderly, as they are more susceptible to side effects, such as confusion and dizziness. Furthermore, individuals using amitriptyline for sleep should also avoid alcohol, as it can increase drowsiness and the risk of other side effects.

Reviews on Amitriptyline for Sleep

Many people find amitriptyline helpful for sleep, especially those dealing with sleep issues related to anxiety or depression. However, others may find the side effects, such as daytime drowsiness or dry mouth, bothersome. Reviews on amitriptyline for sleep are mixed, and individual experiences can vary widely.

Alternatives to Amitriptyline for Sleep

If amitriptyline is ineffective or causes bothersome side effects, other treatments are available. These include other prescription medications like diazepam, clonazepam, or trazodone and over-the-counter options like melatonin. Other tricyclic antidepressants, such as nortriptyline, may also be considered.

Some people may also find non-medication strategies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), to be a helpful alternative or addition to medication.


Amitriptyline can be a beneficial tool for managing sleep problems, particularly in people who have not responded to other treatments. However, as with any medication, it’s essential to discuss the potential benefits and risks with your healthcare provider and to monitor for any side effects.

Remember that while this blog post provides a comprehensive overview of using amitriptyline for sleep, it should not replace individual medical advice. Always consult a healthcare provider for personal medical decisions.

There are various forms of drugs available, such as tablets or liquids, and each may have a separate patient information leaflet (PIL) for different doses. It is important to refer to the PIL for the specific form and dose of the drug that you have been prescribed.

You can search for further information and PILs on websites such as:

  • The British National Formulary (BNF)
  • Electronic medicines compendium (emc)
  • The National Library of Medicine's DailyMed
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 
  • Different drug forms like tablets or liquids have specific patient information leaflets (PIL) for various doses. Refer to the PIL for your prescribed drug form and dose.

    Search for PILs on websites like:


    • ANSM (Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament et des produits de santé):


    • AEMPS (Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios):


    • BfArM (Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte):


    For questions about your medication:

    • Consult your doctor, a healthcare professional, or a pharmacist


    • Contact SOS Médecins: 3624
    • For mental health support, contact SOS Suicide: 01 45 39 40 00

    Belgium (French)

    Switzerland (French)

    • La Main Tendue: 143
    • Website:

    Canada (French)

    • Centre de prévention du suicide du Québec: 1 866 APPELLE (1 866 277-3553)
    • Website:


    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact Teléfono de la Esperanza: 717 003 717


    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact Telefonseelsorge: 0800 111 0 111 or 0800 111 0 222


    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact Telefono Amico: 199 284 284


    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact 113 Zelfmoordpreventie: 0800 0113


    • Contact emergency number: 112
    • For mental health support, contact Sos Voz Amiga: 21 354 45 45, 91 280 26 69, or 96 352 46 60

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