One of the most common complaints in people with depression is problems with sleep, particularly staying asleep through the night. Waking up several times throughout the night can disrupt your slow-wave deep sleep and your REM sleep, stages of sleep critical for restoring your body and mind. Some antidepressants like doxepin and trazodone have a sedative effect to help you sleep through the night and get more deep sleep. Antidepressants like imipramine will have the opposite effect, disrupting your sleep continuity and your time in deep sleep. Others will delay the onset of your REM sleep, resulting in a reduced amount of REM sleep, according to a 2017 article in Current Psychiatry Reports. Stopping your antidepressant could cause your insomnia to return, depending on how it currently impacts the various stages of your sleep.
Some antidepressants might disrupt your sleep if you stop taking them because the withdrawal can disrupt your brain’s equilibrium. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) work by increasing serotonin levels in your brain to regulate anxiety and mood. When you stop taking an SSRI, the serotonin levels are no longer balanced. It’s also possible that norepinephrine and dopamine levels could get out of balance when you stop taking them. You could experience flu-like symptoms, gastrointestinal distress, dizziness, or sensory symptoms like feelings of electric shock. You could also experience insomnia, particularly if you drank alcohol while taking an SSRI (per Ripple Ranch Recovery Center).