Study Objectives: Poor sleep is a risk factor for the development and recurrence of depression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) use is consistently associated with good subjective sleep in clinically depressed patient populations. However, studies in the general population are lacking. Our objective was to investigate the association between SSRIs and subjective sleep in a middle-aged and elderly population in a daily practice setting. Methods: We included participants from the prospective Rotterdam Study cohort. Participants had up to two subjective sleep measurements assessed with Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index ([PSQI], number of measurements = 14,770). SSRI use was based on pharmacy records. We assessed the association between SSRIs and PSQI score and its sub-components, with nonusers of any antidepressant as reference. Analyses were, among others, adjusted for presence of depressive symptoms and concurrent psycholeptic drug use. Results: We included 9,267 participants, average baseline age 66.3 y (standard deviation 10.6), and 57.6% women. SSRI use was significantly associated with a 0.78-point lower PSQI score (95% confidence interval [CI]-1.11;-0.44) which reflects better sleep, compared with non-use. The association was more prominent in continuous SSRI users (-0.71 points, 95% CI-1.18;-0.24). Of the sub-components, SSRIs were associated with 0.70-h longer sleep duration (95% CI 0.56; 0.85), higher sleep quality, higher sleep efficiency, and in contrast more daytime dysfunction. Conclusions: SSRI use was associated with better subjective sleep, after adjustment for depressive symptoms and concurrent psycholeptic drug use. This suggests that, in clinical practice in the middle-aged and elderly population, the sleep quality of some persons may benefit from, continued, SSRI use.

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Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Department of Epidemiology

Aarts, N., Zuurbier, L., Noordam, R., Hofman, A., Tiemeier, H., Stricker, B., & Visser, L. E. (2016). Use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and sleep quality: A population-based study. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 12(7), 989–995. doi:10.5664/jcsm.5932