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

A cold at night can be unpleasant. With symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat, fever, and congestion, falling asleep can be nearly impossible.

Unfortunately, some cold medications may contain caffeine or other stimulants that can keep you awake even when you desperately want to nod off.

DayQuil is one of the most popular cold medications on the market: North America. If you’ve caught a cold or flu symptoms on the eve of an important day, such as an exam, it’s only right to ask yourself if taking the medication could affect your night’s rest.

Does DayQuil keep you awake?

The answer is no. DayQuil does not contain stimulants like caffeine or antihistamines that can cause drowsiness like those found in NyQuil. DayQuil is essentially the alternative you take to prevent the drowsiness symptoms associated with NyQuil.

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

What Are the Active Ingredients in DayQuil?

DayQuil is effective in treating colds and flu because DayQuil contains the medications acetaminophen for pain relief and dextromethorphan for cough relief. The phenylephrine hydrochloride component also clears nasal congestion to make breathing easier.

The good news is that the potent cold medication is available in syrup and LiquiCaps form, so everyone can choose their preference.

What types of DayQuil are available?

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 contains no stimulants, just like the original. The only difference is that the Severe version contains guaifenesin, an expectorant that relieves congestion in the chest and throat so that mucus can be coughed up more easily.

So 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?

NyQuil is another popular flu medication from Vick’s, the brand behind DayQuil. Most people report being confused about which remedy to choose in the midst of a cold. That’s why we need to 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 to relieve nasal congestion

In addition, NyQuil also contains an antihistamine called 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 that contained in DayQuil Severe Liquid and Caplets. NyQuil Severe Syrup and Caplets also contain the same amount of antihistamine 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 twice as high as the other products in the NyQuil products.

In addition, NyQuil provides quick relief from a severe cough thanks to its relatively larger cough suppressant ingredient.

For example, NyQuil Liquicaps contain 5 mg more dextromethorphan for better cough suppression, while NyQuil Liquid contains three times the amount of the cough-suppressing ingredient compared to the two forms of DayQuil.

In addition, the paracetamol content in NyQuil Liquid is twice as high as in LiquiCaps and both versions of DayQuil.

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

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 safely take sleeping pills with DayQuil? 

OK, now that you know what DayQuil has to offer, you may be wondering if it’s safe to take it with other sleep aids.

If you’re currently taking any medications, it’s important to talk to your doctor to make sure there can’t be any negative interactions with other drugs. That being said, I recommend sticking to natural sleep aids to be on the safe side. It is important to note that DayQuil contains Phenylephrine which is related to adrenal compounds in your body. It is a stimulant and can increase blood pressure and stimulate the adrenal system. This can cause potential sleep issues if you are not careful about what you drink and eat togheter with DayQuil.

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

1. How does melatonin interact with DayQuil Medication?

Melatonin is a natural hormone that induces sleep. At nighttime or when you are excessively tired, the brain signals the release of melatonin, which prepares the body to settle down to rest.

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

But what happens to night shift workers who need to sleep during the day? In their case, melatonin levels may remain high during the day due to lack of sleep the previous night.

A good tip for night shift workers is to create artificial darkness by pulling down the blinds of their bedroom window. This can trick the brain into thinking it’s nighttime, which leads to the release of melatonin and other sleep-inducing hormones.

DayQuil does not have any side effects on the body’s production of melatonin, but those who feel that their sleep quality drops after taking the drug may opt for melatonin supplements to restore balance.

Basically, if you are currently taking melatonin supplements, combining them with DayQuil should work just fine.

Amazon’s Vitafusion Melatonin Gummy Vitamins has improved my sleep and jet lag recovery times since I started taking it a month ago. If you are struggling with bedtime for any reason, it is highly recommended.

2. How can Valerian Root, Lavender, and Jasmine be good with DayQuil?

  • Have you heard of Valerian Root? It’s a powerful sleep-inducing herb native to Asia and Africa. If you’re desperate for a natural remedy to effortlessly nod off before bed, Valerian Root may be a good option.
  • Lavender is an alternative potent natural herb that produces purple flowers. It contains strong calming properties that can guarantee a good night’s sleep after taking DayQuil to fight flu, cold or nasal congestion.
  • Jasmine is another sleep enhancer that you can take alongside DayQuil without the risk of side effects. It can prevent tossing and turning at night, especially if you’re dealing with the flu.

The NOW Supplements Valerian Roots Herbal Supplement has changed 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. Can you take DayQuil and drink alcohol at the same time?

The answer is no. Not only is it a bad habit to mix alcohol and DayQuil, but it can be life-threatening. According to studies, combining the two can cause significant liver damage, drowsiness, and nausea.

It should be noted that liver damage due to the acetaminophen component is one of the main side effects of taking large doses of DayQuil. Since large amounts of alcohol can also cause liver damage, it is wise not to combine the two.

Also, avoid taking all other medications with acetaminophen as the active ingredient when drinking alcohol. This can lead to serious consequences for your liver.

4. Can you drink Grape Juice and take DayQuil? 

Natural grape juice is healthy, right? Not if you are taking DayQuil. That’s because grapefruit juice can contain higher amounts of dextromethorphan. Since DayQuil also contains significant amounts 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 amounts of dextromethorphan.

Do you sleep better after taking DayQuil? 

brunette lying down in a sofa

We have now established the fact that DayQuil, for the most parts, neither prevents nor induces sleep. If you need help getting to sleep, here are a few techniques that can be crucial in this regard.

1. Make your bedroom environment noise-free

A noisy environment can be one of the most consistent barriers to a good night’s sleep. If you have unsuccessfully tried to sleep through loud noises in the past, it’s time to turn down the volume in your bedroom.

Avoid loud music or noises from TV, radios or laptops at bedtime. If you share a bed, inform your partner of your intention to sleep. He or she should be careful not to talk loudly on the phone or do other actions that can cause distracting noises.

However, there are times when you find yourself in situations where noise is unavoidable. In this case, noise-canceling headphones can be very useful as they can block out background noise for a peaceful sleep.

I personally use the Cowin E7 Active Noise-Canceling Headphones from Amazon to help me fall asleep in noisy environments. It has amazing technology that drowns out background noise so I can focus on listening to relaxing, pleasant sounds for a satisfying sleep.

2. Lower Your Bedroom Thermostat

Lowering the temperature in your bedroom can be another smart way to get a good night’s sleep after taking DayQuil. The human brain naturally associates cool temperatures with slumber, so turning down the thermostat in your bedroom can have a positive effect on your sleep.

Low temperatures can send the right signals to the brain to release hormones like melatonin, which are known to initiate and maintain the process of falling asleep.

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

In addition, a cooler room improves the body’s ability to regulate its internal body temperature. This can improve the length of time it takes you to fall asleep and the quality of your rest at night.

Have you read our article on the benefits of sleeping with a fan? Click here to see the 5 top reasons why you need to turn on the fan in your bedroom.

3. Keep the same sleeping rhythm

We humans are creatures of habit and our bodies respond positively to routines. So if you go to bed and wake up at the same time every night, you will find it easier to fall asleep. Whether you’ve taken DayQuil or not, you should have little trouble tossing and turning in your bed.

Remember, it’s important to figure out how many hours of sleep your body needs and adjust your schedule accordingly to get the best results.

4. Avoid Bedtime Distractions 

Distractions before bed are one of the most popular reasons why many people spend more time awake than they should. 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 before bed instead of allowing our bodies to rest for the day ahead.

Aside from smartphones, television can also be a major distraction. From binge-watching your favorite show TV to watching sports highlights, many things can get in the way of getting adequate sleep.

It’s no wonder experts recommend turning off all electronic devices an hour before your desired bedtime. You’ll be amazed at how much your sleep will improve.

5. Avoid going to bed hungry or full

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

Eating heavy meals can cause digestive issues that can lead to sleep disturbances if you don’t wait about 3 hours before jumping into bed. The stress of the digestive process alone can lead to excessive wakefulness before bed when you should really be sleeping for a few more hours.

Also, eating heavily just before bed can lead to unwanted side effects that interfere with sleep, such as acid regurgitation.

If you must eat late in the evening, make sure it is 2-3 hours before you go to sleep. This should allow enough time for digestion.

Did you read the article we wrote about sleeping while full? Click here for the top reasons why you should never eat heavy at bedtime.

6. No Drinks with Caffeine

Drinking coffee is the last thing you can think about when you’re trying to sleep. This is because the sleep-inhibiting effects of caffeine are well known. Late night coffee runs can’t do your sleep any favors.

The caffeine component can also cause dehydration, which can lead to you having to keep drinking water throughout the night.

Getting up to drink more water increases the likelihood that you will need to visit the restroom more often, which can be a significant sleep disruption.

If you must drink coffee, it should be no later than lunchtime. By the time you go to bed, the effects should have worn off to ensure that your sleep is minimally affected, if at all.

Did you read the article we wrote about the best ways to fall asleep after drinking too much coffee? Click here for quick tips to get a satisfying night’s rest after excessive caffeine consumption.

7. Light Exercises

The effects of the flu can take a toll on the body, causing side effects like headaches, fever, and even nausea. Rigorous exercise can be overkill, but nothing should stop you from light physical routines.

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

Just avoid going too far from your home, especially if the weather isn’t too favorable. Just the change of scenery can lead to amazing effects for your late night sleep.

Can you Take DayQuil with Coffee Safely?

A hot cup of coffee can feel heavenly when you’re plagued by the flu. That’s why you’re probably wondering if you can drink coffee while taking DayQuil.

The answer is yes. According to studies, the combination of caffeine with acetaminophen can help to enhance the pain-relieving and fever-reducing effects of the latter.

In other words, drinking coffee while taking DayQuil can be good for your body. Just try not to drink past lunchtime to avoid nighttime sleep problems.


DayQuil has no direct effect on sleep, unlike competing products that may contain sleep-inhibiting stimulants. Therefore, it may be the flu remedy of choice if you have a critical day ahead and need a good night’s sleep the night before.

We hope we have satisfactorily answered any questions you may have. Remember to talk to your doctor if you have any further questions. Have a good night!

Gabriel Smith

Hello, my name is Gabriel and I LOVE to sleep. Okay, you’re right, a lot of people do like sleep. But my passion is actually not sleeping. My interest lies in the “theoretical part”. What to do before bedtime. What a good night’s sleep is. etc. In short, how to sleep well. I hope you share the same interest as me, and enjoy reading everything about sleep.

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