Does DayQuil Keep You Awake? Here’s Everything You Need to Know!

bottle of DayQuil

Suffering a cold at night can be uncomfortable. With symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throats, fever, and congestion, falling asleep may be next to impossible. 

Unfortunately, some cold medications may contain caffeine or another stimulant that can also inhibit sleep even when you’re desperate to nod off.

DayQuil is one of the most popular cold medications on the market in North America. If you’ve caught a cold on the eve of an important day such as an exam, it is only right to wonder whether taking it can interfere with your nighttime rest.

Does DayQuil keep you awake? The answer is no. DayQuil neither contains stimulants such as Caffeine nor antihistamines which can cause drowsiness as found in NyQuil. DayQuil is essentially the alternative you take to prevent the drowsy symptoms associated with NyQuil.

The good news is that the popular cold medication can provide soothing relief from headaches, postnasal drips, and other symptoms associated with flu. Not only should normal sleep be attainable after taking it but you can expect to wake up feeling refreshed as well.

What Are the Active Ingredients in DayQuil?

So what are the active ingredients in DayQuil and why are they so effective for treating colds and flu? DayQuil contains acetaminophen for soothing pains and dextromethorphan for cough relief. The phenylephrine hydrochloride component also clears up nasal congestion to promote easy breathing.

The good news is that the powerful cold medication comes in syrup and LiquiCaps forms so everyone gets to choose their preference.

Types of DayQuil

DayQuil is available in two types i.e. DayQuil Original and DayQuil Severe. DayQuil Severe comes in a Syrup form as well as LiquiCaps and Caplets.

So what is the difference between DayQuil Severe and DayQuil Original? Well, they both contain the 3 active ingredients i.e. acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and phenylephrine hydrochloride.

DayQuil Severe also does not feature any stimulant just like the Original. The only difference is that the Severe version contains guaifenesin, an expectorant that eases the congestion in the chest and throat for easy coughing out of the mucus in the mouth.

Thus, you can be confident that no matter which version of DayQuil you take, tossing and turning in bed should not be an expected side effect.

What is the Difference Between DayQuil and NyQuil 

bottle of dayquil and nyquil

NyQuil is another popular flu medication from Vick’s, the brand behind DayQuil. Most people report confusion about which one to opt for in the midst of a cold. This is why we must reveal the differences between the two, so you can make an informed choice.

Just like DayQuil, NyQuil features the following ingredients:

  • Acetaminophen for pain relief
  • Dextromethorphan for cough suppression
  • Phenylephrine hydrochloride for easing nasal congestion

Besides, NyQuil also features an antihistamine known as doxylamine succinate known for its drowsy side effects.

The amount of acetaminophen (a cough suppressant and nasal decongestant) in NyQuil Severe Liquid and Caplets is the same as what the DayQuil Severe Liquid and Caplets contain. NyQuil Severe Syrup and Caplets also contain the same amount of antihistamines as the Original NyQuil Severe.

But, NyQuil Severe contains twice as much acetaminophen as found in DayQuil Severe Liquid. The antihistamine component in NyQuil Severe is also double that of the others from the NyQuil product line.

Besides, NyQuil provides quick relief for severe cough thanks to its relatively larger cough suppressant ingredient. 

For instance, the NyQuil Liquicaps contains 5 mg more of dextromethorphan for better cough suppression while the NyQuil Liquid contains 3 times more of the cough suppression ingredient compared to both forms of DayQuil.

Also, the acetaminophen component in NyQuil Liquid is double that of its LiquiCaps and both versions of DayQuil.

In conclusion, the active ingredient components in NyQuil tend to be the same or higher compared to DayQuil. If you’re looking for the strongest response for flu, cold, or cough, the NyQuil Liquid may be the best option out of the whole product range.

I found the DayQuil Cough, Cold, and Flu Relief Syrup on Amazon. It is the most effective solution for severe symptoms and discomfort.

Can You Take Sleep Aids Safely with DayQuil? 

OK now that you know what DayQuil has to offer, you might be wondering whether it is safe to take it with other sleep aids.

If you’re currently taking any drugs, it is important to check with your doctor to make sure it cannot interact negatively with other compounds. That being said, I recommend sticking to natural remedies for sleep to be on the safe side.

Here’s how various natural sleep aids interact with DayQuil.

1. Melatonin

Melatonin is a natural hormone that induces sleep. At nighttime or during periods of excessive fatigue, the brain signals the release of melatonin which begins setting up the body to shut down for rest.

In the morning and throughout the daytime, melatonin levels naturally dip as the body focuses on staying awake for work or school.

But, what happens to the night shift workers who need to sleep during the daytime? Melatonin levels may stay high during the daytime in their case due to the lack of sleep during the previous night.

A good tip for night shift workers is to create artificial darkness by pulling their bedroom window blinds. This can trick the brain into believing that it is nighttime leading to the release of melatonin and other sleep-boosting hormones.

DayQuil may not have any side effects on the body’s natural production of melatonin but anyone who feels their sleep quality dips after taking the medication can opt for melatonin supplements to restore balance.

Essentially, if you’re currently taking melatonin supplements, combining them with DayQuil should work out just fine.

The Vitafusion Melatonin Gummy Vitamins from Amazon has boosted my sleep and jetlag recovery times ever since I started taking it a month ago. If you’re struggling at bedtime for any reason, it is highly recommended.

2. Valerian Root, Lavender, and Jasmine

  • Have you heard of Valerian Root? It is a powerful sleep-inducing herb native to Asia and Africa. If you’re desperate for a natural remedy to nod off effortlessly at bedtime, Valerian Root can be a great option.
  • Lavender is an alternative potent natural herb that produces purple flowers. It contains powerful sedative properties that can guarantee a good night after taking DayQuil to combat flu, cold, or nasal congestion.
  • Jasmine is another sleep booster you can take alongside DayQuil with no risk of side effects. It can prevent tossing and turning at night especially when you’re down with flu.

The NOW Supplements Valerian Roots Herbal Supplement has transformed the quality of my sleep since I started taking it a month ago. I now doze off quickly and get a full 8 hours of sleep every night.

3. Alcohol

Can you drink alcohol while taking DayQuil? The answer is no. It may not only be a bad habit to mix alcohol and DayQuil, but it can also be life-threatening. According to studies, combining both can lead to significant liver damage, light-headedness, and nausea.

It must be noted that liver damage is one of the main side effects of taking large doses of DayQuil due to the acetaminophen component. Since large quantities of alcohol can lead to liver damage too, it makes sense not to combine the two.

Additionally, avoid taking any other medication with acetaminophen as an active ingredient when drinking alcohol. This can lead to severe repercussions for your liver.

4. Ditch the Grape Juice

Natural grape juice is healthy right? Not when you’re taking DayQuil. This is because grapefruit juice may offer higher quantities of dextromethorphan. Since DayQuil also contains significant quantities of the same ingredient, combining the 2 can lead to terrible side effects.

Dizziness, nervousness, and drowsiness are a few symptoms you can expect when the body receives excessive quantities of dextromethorphan.

Additional Tips For Better Sleep After Taking DayQuil

We’ve now established the fact that DayQuil neither prevents nor induces sleep. If you need help trying to nod off, here are a couple of techniques that can be vital in that regard.

1. Noise-Free Bedroom Environment

A noisy environment can be one of the most consistent barriers to good shuteye. If you’ve tried to sleep through loud sounds in the past without success, it is time to make the bedroom quieter.

Avoid loud music or noises from the TV, radios, or laptops at bedtime. If you share a bed, let your partner know of the intention to sleep. He or she would be mindful of making loud phone calls or taking any actions that can result in disruptive noises.

However, there are times when you find yourself in situations where noise is inevitable. In that case, noise-canceling headphones can come in handy due to their ability to mute background noises for a quiet sleep.

I personally use the Cowin E7 Active Noise-Canceling Headphones from Amazon to doze off in noisy environments. It features amazing technology that drowns out background noises so I can focus on listening to relaxing pleasant sounds for satisfying sleep.

2. Lower Your Bedroom Thermostat

Lowering your bedroom temperature can be another smart way to sleep well after taking DayQuil. The human brain naturally associates cool temperatures with slumber so turning down the bedroom thermostat can augur well for your sleep.

Low temperatures can send the right signals to the brain to release hormones such as melatonin, renowned for being responsible for launching and maintaining the shut-eye process.

Opening your bedroom windows and turning on the fan are additional ways to lower room temperature.

Besides, a cooler room improves the body’s ability to regulate its internal body temperature. This can improve the times it takes to doze off as well as the quality of nighttime rest.

Have you read the article we wrote about the benefits of sleeping with a fan? Click here to see 5 top reasons why you need to turn on the bedroom fan,

3. Maintain the Same Sleep Schedule

Human beings are creatures of habit and our bodies respond positively to routines. Thus, going to bed and waking up at the same time each night can make it easy to fall asleep. Whether you’ve taken DayQuil or not, you should have few problems tossing and turning in your bed.

Remember, it is important to determine how many hours of sleep the body desires and work your schedule around it for the best results.

4. Avoid Bedtime Distractions 

Bedtime distractions are one of the popular reasons why many folks spend more time awake than they need to. Smartphones, in particular, can rob you of valuable sleep thanks to the popularity of social media.

Many of us spend hours on Instagram and YouTube at bedtime instead of allowing the body to rest for the day ahead.

Apart from smartphones, television can also be a huge distraction. From binge-watching your favorite TV series to catching sports highlights, many things can stand in the way of getting sufficient sleep.

No wonder experts recommend switching off all electronic gadgets an hour so before your designated bedtime. You’ll be amazed at how much your sleep will improve.

5. Avoid Going to Bed Hungry or Full

Going to bed hungry may be a big no-no after taking DayQuil. Like other medications, it may not mix well with an empty stomach. But does that mean you should fill the belly with thousands of calories around bedtime? That’s a no too.

Eating heavy meals can cause digestion difficulties which may result in sleep disturbance unless you wait about 3 hours before jumping into bed. The strain of the digestion process alone can lead to excessive alertness at bedtime when you’re supposed to be catching some Zzzs.

Additionally, eating heavily close to bedtime can lead to adverse side effects that interfere with sleep such as acid reflux

If you must eat late in the evening, make sure it is 2-3 hours before falling asleep. This should allow ample time for digestion.

Have you read the article we wrote on sleeping when full? Click here for the top reasons why you should never eat heavy at bedtime.

6. No Caffeine

Drinking coffee is the last thing you can think of when trying to sleep. This is because caffeine’s natural stimulant properties which inhibit sleep is well known. Late-night coffee runs cannot do your sleep any favors.

The caffeine component can also cause dehydration which can increase the number of times you may feel like drinking water throughout the night.

Getting up to drink more water means an increased likelihood of visiting the bathroom frequently which can be a major sleep disturbance.

If you must drink coffee, it should be no later than at lunchtime. By the time you jump into bed, the effects should have worn off to ensure minimal impact on your sleep, if any at all.

Have you read the article we wrote on the best ways to sleep after drinking too much coffee? Click here for quick tips to get a satisfying nighttime rest after excessive caffeine consumption. 

7. Light Exercises

The effects of the flu can take a toll on the body resulting in side effects such as headaches, fever, and even nausea. Stringent exercises may be overkill but nothing should stop you from light physical routines.

A 15-minute walk in the evening especially after eating dinner can have a positive effect on your ability to sleep.

Just avoid walking too far away from your home especially if the weather isn’t too favorable. The change of scenery alone can lead to amazing effects for your slumber late.

Can you Take DayQuil with Coffee Safely?

A hot cup of coffee can feel heavenly when you’re down with flu. This is why you’re probably wondering whether you can drink coffee while taking DayQuil.

Can you take DayQuil and Coffee safely with no side effects? The answer is yes. According to studies, combining caffeine with acetaminophen can help supercharge the pain-relieving and fever reduction effects of the latter.

In other words, drinking coffee while taking DayQuil may be good for your body. Just try not to drink beyond mid-day to avoid sleeping difficulties during the night.


DayQuil has no direct effect on sleep, unlike rivals that may contain sleep-inhibiting stimulants. Thus, it can be the flu medication of choice if you have a critical day coming up and require quality sleep the night before.

Hopefully, we have provided satisfactory answers to all the questions on your mind. Remember to speak to your doctor if you have any additional queries. Have a good night!

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