Women with depression, chronic insomnia, and chronic pain may find their sleep improves while taking antidepressants. Study findings in women with this “multi-morbidity triad” were presented at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, held from June 4 to 8, 2022, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The study recruited 91 women with insomnia, chronic pain, and depression. The women completed 1 night of polysomnography as part of another clinical trial (NCT02688569), as well as reported their antidepressant use. The researchers assessed the percentages of REM and Stage 3 sleep, controlling for age and sleep medication use. (Increased REM sleep and decreased Stage 3 sleep are associated with depression).

The researchers found REM sleep was lower in women who used antidepressants compared to sleep based on type of antidepressant medication and found stage 3 sleep was lower in women taking medications that affect serotonin compared to medications that affect other neurotransmitters.

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The researchers concluded that antidepressants’ impact on sleep in women with depression, insomnia, and chronic pain depends on the type of medication. Future studies with larger sample sizes are needed to further explore the impact of antidepressants on women with these and other comorbidities.


Sparrow M, Stearns M, Nair N, McCrae C. The effect of antidepressant medications on sleep architecture in a primarily middle-aged sample of women with multi-morbidities: chronic insomnia, chronic pain, and depression. Presented at SLEEP 2022; June 4-8; Charlotte, North Carolina. Abstract 668.

This article originally appeared on Psychiatry Advisor