Does DayQuil Keep You Awake

Does dayquil keep you awake?

There are some drugs especially the ones used in treating common cold and flu that prevent the user from falling asleep or staying awake while others makes the user to feel sleepy and groggy. This is caused by the chemicals used in manufacturing these drugs. 

Also, they act differently in different persons, so the way your body react to a drug will not be the same in another person. Most people ask if DayQuil is among the medications that keeps the user awake. DayQuil is used to treat common cold and flu, what will happen after taking the drug? Will you find it difficult to sleep?. Read on to find answers to this question.


DayQuil is a medication that is used to treat the symptoms of cold and flu. These symptoms are sore throat, cough, nasal congestion, headache, minor aches and pain, and fever. This medicine contains active ingredients which are acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and phenylephrine. DayQuil is designed to be used during the day, it comes in liquid that you drink and LiquiCaps that are swallowed. 


DayQuil is made with active ingredients like:

1. Acetaminophen ( 325 mg )

A pain reliever and fever reducer that works by preventing the production of certain chemicals ( prostaglandins ) that causes pain and fever. It is an active ingredient in most pain relief and fever reducer drugs.

2. Dextromethorphan ( 10 mg )

This is a cough suppressant that works on the central nervous system. It calms the cough reflex in the brain and suppresses cough. It is used in most cough medicines.

3. Phenylephrine ( 5 mg )

This ingredient decongests the nasal passage. It works by narrowing blood vessels thereby reducing swelling. It can be found in most cold and allergy medicines.

Other inactive ingredients are:

  • FD&C Red No. 40
  • FD&C Yellow No. 6
  • Gelatin
  • Glycerin
  • Polyethylene Glycol
  • Povidone
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Purified Water
  • Sorbital Sorbitan Solution
  • Titanium Dioxide

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DayQuil will not typically keep you awake especially if you take it at night but it can keep some people awake to an extent. This drug is made with three active ingredients which are acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and phenylephrine. Dextromethorphan is classified as non-drowsy antihistamines, which means it causes anxiety and jitteriness and this can lead to insomnia. Dextromethorphan is also in the morphine class of medicines that have stimulant properties although in little dose.

The stimulant properties affect the body and central nervous system especially, this increases alertness and makes it difficult for the user to sleep. Phenylephrine can also cause some people to wake up earlier than they should or need to. Phenylephrine is a decongestant and it has properties that can cause wakefulness in people. If dayquil keeps you awake and affects your sleeping pattern, you should talk to your doctor so that alternatives can be given if possible.

If you use alcohol while taking dayquil or other drugs, they may contribute to the sleeplessness. Then you should see your doctor for medical support while you withdraw form the substances to avoid withdrawal symptoms like seizures or psychosis. You should know that if you stop using dayquil, you will no longer experience the sleeping problems.

Does DayQuil Keep You Awake
Does DayQuil Keep You Awake


The manufacturers of this drug designed it to be used during the day hence the name dayquil, there is a similar drug from the same manufacturers called NyQuil that can be taken at night. Some people found out that taking dayquil at night helps them to sleep well because it relieves their cold and flu symptoms making it easier for them to sleep. Others reported that the drug keeps them awake. So, if you want to take dayquil at night, you should consult your doctor first. 


If you always awake after taking dayquil, then there are few tips that can help you to sleep better. 

1. Use A Humidifier Or Vaporizer To Help With Your Breathing

Humidifier or vaporizer can be used even if you have stuffy nose, cold or flu. The humidifier or vaporizer will add moisture to the air and prevent dryness that may cause irritation to the nose, this will make breathing easier. Before using the humidifier or vaporizer, make sure it is clean and free from germs. You should disinfect it from time to time to get rid of bacteria or germs that may accumulate in these devices. 

2. Inhale Steam Before Bed To Open Your Airways

Inhaling steam will decongest your upper respiratory tract making it free for you to breathe. The vapor from the steam can make the air moist and clear up decongested nasal passage. It can also help relieve sore throat and relief pain caused by cough.

To induce sleep, you can add few drops of eucalyptus oil to your steaming water. The oil also has anti-inflammatory properties that is good for your cold and flu. Start inhaling the air gently to avoid sharp inhalation.

3. Gargle With Lukewarm Saline To Soothe Your Throat

Gargling with lukewarm saline water before you go to bed can help relieve your sore throat. It is a home remedy that soothes the throat, the ingredients are just salt and lukewarm water. Gargling can also prevent bacterial infection like strep throat from developing in the throat. 

4 Apply Nasal Strips To Clear Your Nose

Nasal strips are placed across the bridge of the nose while you sleep, it helps to widen the nasal passage make more space for air. You can easily get nasal strips in drugstores.

5. Elevate Your Head To Drain Your Sinuses

Raise your head with few pillow, this will help you to naturally drain your sinuses and make you breathe better. This sleeping posture is good as it will make the mucus and fluid build-up in your upper respiratory passage will gently clear out while you fall asleep quickly.

To elevate your head, you can stack pillows under your head or raise your bed if possible. Do not stack too many pillows to avoid causing neck pain or discomfort for yourself. Two pillows are enough to elevate your head and drain out sinuses.

6. Establish A Bedtime Routine

Decide your bedtime and stick to it. When it is time for bed, you should turn off all devices and any source of blue light including your phone, television and laptops. Keep your room dim or dark.

7. Avoid Caffeine Late In The Day

It is best to take coffee and other drinks with caffeine in the morning and early afternoon. Taking caffeine in the evening will disrupt your sleep and keep you awake for most of the time. If you want to take warm tea, you can go for caffeine-free tea like chamomile or lavender.


Do not give DayQuil to children who are younger than 4 years unless a doctor prescribed it.

Stick to the recommended dosage. You can see the dosage on the product package or you ask your doctor for help. Overdosing on acetaminophen can lead to liver disease while dextromethorphan can high feeling and even hallucinations.

Do not use dayquil for other purposes. It can be used to treat cough associated with common cold and flu, not for chronic cough caused by smoking, asthma, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema.

Do not use if pregnant or breastfeeding unless prescribed by your doctor. Your doctor can prescribe other drugs to be used in treating your cold and flu.

Talk to your doctor before using dayquil if you have liver disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, thyroid disease or enlarged prostate. 


There are some common side effects of DayQuil that go away after some time. They last till your body gets used to the drug,

These side effects are:

  • Pain in the stomach
  • Trouble with sleeping
  • Lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness

Some side effects can be serious and need medical attention if experienced. They can be caused by allergic reactions

These side effects are:

  • Itching of the body
  • Rash
  • Peeling and blistering of the skin
  • Hives
  • Redness of the skin
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Trouble with swallowing
  • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, feet, ankles, hands and legs.


The active ingredients in dayquil can interact with other drugs and cause reactions that are harmful. The interaction can affect how any of drug works .

The acetaminophen in dayquil can interact with drugs like:

  • Warfarin
  • Carbamazepine
  • Isoniazid
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin
  • Phenothiazines

Dextromethorphan and phenylephrine can interact with a group of drugs called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). The interaction can happen two weeks after these MAOIs are used.

Examples of drugs under this class are:

  • Isocarboxazid
  • Phenelzine
  • Selegiline
  • Tranylcypromine


DayQuil can keep you awake to some extent because one of the active ingredient dextromethorphan have little amount of stimulant properties. It can also cause anxiety that causes sleeplessness. Another of the ingredients phenylephrine has properties that can keep some people awake. You can follow some tips to have quality sleep and get relieve from cold and flu. Look out for other drugs that can interact with dayquil to avoid causing serious complications. 

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