Can I Take Dayquil at Night? Will It Keep You Awake?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on June 22nd, 2022

DayQuil is designed to alleviate flu symptoms during the day. Is it safe to take it at night if it was designed for the day? Is it safe to use DayQuil at night?

DayQuil can be taken at night in the same way as NyQuil can. DayQuil has no stimulants that will keep you awake. If the sedative effect of NyQuil bothers you, you might take DayQuil at night instead.

woman lying on bed

You can safely use DayQuil at night if you take it every four hours and do not exceed four doses in 24 hours.

Keep in mind that some people report feeling somewhat agitated after using DayQuil. It does not work for everyone, just like any other drug.

Continue reading to discover more about the effects of taking DayQuil at night.

Is it safe to use DayQuil at night?

Is it ok to take dayquil at night? DayQuil can be taken at night. DayQuil has no stimulants that will keep you awake. If the sedative effect of NyQuil bothers you, you might take DayQuil at night instead.

Because of its non-drowsy composition, DayQuil is meant for use throughout the day. Its chemicals do not make you drowsy.

NyQuil, on the other hand, includes the drowsiness-inducing ingredient of doxylamine succinate. This is why NyQuil is suggested for usage at night.

DayQuil can be used at night, but NyQuil should not be taken during the day since it may cause drowsiness when driving or working.

What exactly is DayQuil?

Acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and phenylephrine are the active components of DayQuil. These three drugs each have a distinct function in enhancing DayQuil’s overall efficacy.


Acetaminophen is a pain reliever as well as a fever reducer. When consumed, this medication, commonly known as paracetamol, affects the way the body perceives pain and cools the body via the brain’s heat-regulating region.


Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant present in several over-the-counter cold and cough medications. This is due to the fact that dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant.

To reduce coughing, the medicine dextromethorphan enters your body’s blood-brain barrier and hits the sigma opioid receptors. Dextromethorphan has several therapeutic characteristics and is contained in both DayQuil and NyQuil.


Phenylephrine hydrochloride is a nasal decongestant that relieves nasal and ear swelling, making it easier to breathe. This works by stimulating the alpha-1 adrenoceptors in your nasal mucosa, which increases sinus cavity outflow.

When used together, each of these drugs serves to combat the adverse symptoms of the typical flu or cold. Among these adverse effects are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

Each of these medications can be used at the beginning or end of the day to alleviate the symptoms of the common cold and flu. Do these drugs keep you awake at night when combined in the form of DayQuil?

What Happens If You Take DayQuil Late at Night?

When taken at night, DayQuil has the same effect as its nighttime equivalent, NyQuil. Only NyQuil, which contains a sedative, will produce sleepiness, but Dayquil will not. However, because DayQuil contains no stimulants, you will have no problem sleeping.

DayQuil will not help you sleep if you already have a sleeping issue; it will only ease your cold and flu symptoms. You will be able to sleep normally after your problems have been relieved.

However, both DayQuil and NyQuil may cause negative effects in those who are vulnerable or sensitive to them. Consider the aforementioned negative effects.

Does DayQuil keep you up at night?

DayQuil should not keep you awake because it contains no stimulating elements that might induce you to stay awake. The medication includes dextromethorphan and acetaminophen but does not contain doxylamine, which induces drowsiness. Instead, phenylephrine, a non-drowsy drug, is used for nasal decongestion.

DayQuil will help you sleep naturally by alleviating your symptoms.

Is there caffeine in DayQuil?

People commonly fear that DayQuil includes caffeine due to its impact on cold-related symptoms such as flu and nasal congestion.

It, however, does not. Instead, the major active components in DayQuil are acetaminophen for pain relief and fever reduction, dextromethorphan for cough suppression, and phenylephrine hydrochloride for nasal congestion relief.

Both products are recognized to have the same components and doses. The dextromethorphan, which may have produced sleepiness, was not administered in sufficient quantities, hence the adverse effect was minimal.

You could need to take DayQuil for your illness and also keep awake. While DayQuil will not keep you awake, it is okay to take the medicine with moderate coffee.

According to recent findings, caffeine is a significant element in various other products for boosting the pain-relieving action of acetaminophen, which is one of the active chemicals in DayQuil.

Yes, indeed! You may proceed with your morning cup of coffee! You might even be able to get some additional assistance today.

What Happens If You Take DayQuil First Thing in the Morning?

DayQuil is designed to be used in the morning to ease cold and flu symptoms, therefore it will help you. The disease will be treated if the drug is taken and dosed correctly. After taking DayQuil during the day, you will be relieved of the symptoms of a cold or flu.

Certain of the adverse effects may be experienced by some people. In sensitive people, common side effects may be detected. Any of the following may be included:

  • The nasopharyngeal region is dry.
  • Dizziness
  • Feelings of anxiety
  • Stomach ache
  • a light headache

DayQuil’s formulation

DayQuil is available in two forms: LiquiCaps, which are liquid-filled capsules for adults, and liquid for children.

Adults who find the gel caps bothersome can take the liquid version instead. What matters is that you take the correct milliliter equivalent of the LiquiCaps.

Each LiquiCap contains 325 milligrams (mg) of acetaminophen, 10 milligrams (mg) of dextromethorphan HBr, and 5 milligrams (mg) of phenylephrine. One LiquiCap is comparable to two tablespoons of liquid or thirty milliliters of liquid. As a result, you can consume 2 teaspoons every 4 hours without surpassing 120 ml every 24 hours.

DayQuil includes 325 mg of acetaminophen, 5 mg of phenylephrine, 10 mg of dextromethorphan HBr, and 200 mg of guaifenesin per tablespoon (15 ml).

The Appropriate Dosage of DayQuil

The dose is mostly determined by the patient’s age.

Recommended dosageLiquiCapsLiquid
Adults and children 12 years and oldertwo capsules every 4 hours as needed, no more than four doses in 24 hours30 mL every 4 hours as needed, no more than 4 doses in 24 hours
Children ages 6-11 yearsAsk your doctor15 mL every 4 hours as needed, no more than four doses in 24 hours
Children ages 4-5 yearsAsk your doctorAsk your doctor
Children younger than 4 yearsDo not useDo not use

Consult your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or worsen after two days of taking DayQuil.

DayQuil should not be taken by children under the age of six. Before taking any drug, see your doctor first.

How Should You Use DayQuil?

When it comes to the recommended dose and number of hours taken of DayQuil, it all depends on your age, medical condition, and whether you’re taking the medications DayQuil in liquid or tablet form.

Adults and children 12 years of age and older, for example, should take 2 LiquiCaps of DayQuil with water every 4 hours. Before taking DayQuil on children aged 4 to under 12 years old, see a doctor.

Regardless of your age or medical condition, do not exceed 4 doses per 24 hours and keep the drug at room temperature. Drink lots of water after taking the medicine to help release the mucus in your lungs.

Is It Possible to Overdose on DayQuil?

Yes, you can overdose if you consume more than 4 LiquiCaps (adults) or 120 mL (children) in 24 hours.

If this occurs and you have any of the previously stated symptoms, you should discontinue the medicine and see your doctor for proper treatment. If you overdose but do not experience any of the symptoms, you should still see your doctor.

Overdosing can result in liver and renal issues that are difficult to identify early on (asymptomatic) until it is too late.

DayQuil’s Efficiency

In a clinical investigation, a group of researchers determined that “DayQuil/NyQuil is equally effective as Actifed DM with paracetamol in managing the symptoms and signs of the common cold, but has fewer side effects.” Furthermore, the patients had a higher quality of life with DayQuil and NyQuil, according to the study.

When used correctly, studies show that DayQuil is beneficial in treating cold and flu symptoms, particularly its acetaminophen component for fever and discomfort.

Is it safe to take DayQuil on an empty stomach?

Is it safe to take DayQuil on an empty stomach at night? DayQuil can be taken on an empty stomach. However, if you are prone to stomach discomfort, you can take this medication with milk or food to reduce your risk. Drink plenty of water or other beverages.

What Is the Most Powerful Form of DayQuil? Is it better to use a gel cap or a liquid form?

Despite the fact that both formulations have the same therapeutic benefits, the liquid form is more easily absorbed and broken down than the LiquiCap form. For people with throat issues, the liquid version is also simpler to swallow.

The LiquiCap form, on the other hand, may be easier to transport in a backpack or pouch. However, this is dependent on your own preferences.

Choose the DayQuil form that is most convenient for you as long as you take the prescribed dose of medication on time.

Other Medications May Interact With DayQuil

DayQuil’s active components – acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and phenylephrine – may interact with other drugs or foods.

As a result, patients should exercise caution when using DayQuil since these drug-drug interactions or drug-food interactions are frequently additive or synergistic in nature, which means that they may cause greater harm when taken together than when taken separately.

If you are currently using acetaminophen, carbamazepine, isoniazid, phenobarbital, phenytoin, phenothiazines, or warfarin, please be aware that the acetaminophen in DayQuil may interact with these medications and produce adverse effects.

It is especially crucial to exercise caution if you are currently using monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) such as isocarboxazid, phenelzine, selegiline, or tranylcypromine, as the phenylephrine and dextromethorphan in DayQuil have been shown to interact negatively with MAOIs.

Please keep in mind that even if you’ve stopped taking the medications indicated above, there’s still a chance that possible interactions will occur until they’re out of your system.

As a result, please be cautious and always consult your doctor ahead of time.

When using DayQuil, stay away from alcohol.

It has been observed that the combination of DayQuil and alcohol might result in severe liver damage.

As a result, it is advised to avoid using DayQuil if you consume three or more alcoholic beverages per day.

You should also avoid using DayQuil with any other acetaminophen-containing drugs, since acetaminophen overdose can result in poisoning and serious liver damage.

What Are DayQuil’s Side Effects?

Consult your doctor if you experience any of the following negative effects after taking DayQuil:

  • Hallucinations
  • Chest ache
  • Variable heart rate
  • Nausea
  • jaundice (yellow-colored skin or sclera of the eyes)
  • Severe vertigo
  • Extensive headache
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Stomach aches
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia

Anaphylactic responses can occur if you are allergic to any of the components in DayQuil. It might begin with itchy skin rashes, throat swelling, and dyspnea (difficulty breathing), among other symptoms. If any of these symptoms go ignored, they can lead to anaphylactic shock and death.

If you have any of these symptoms after using DayQuil at night or during the day, discontinue the medicine immediately and seek medical attention. A dosage or injection of anti-allergy medication would successfully ease the symptoms. This would prevent any more major adverse effects. To avoid deadly side effects, you must take prompt action as soon as you discover the symptoms.

Severe side effects

An allergic response is a major adverse effect of DayQuil. Among the symptoms are:

  • rash
  • hives
  • itching
  • red, peeling, or blistering skin
  • itchiness
  • difficulty breathing
  • trouble swallowing
  • swelling of your face, throat, tongue, lips, hands, legs, ankles, or feet

If you have any of these symptoms while taking DayQuil, contact your doctor immediately or seek emergency medical attention.

DayQuil Precautions

  • Again, children under the age of six should not take the drug without first checking with a doctor.
  • Pregnant and nursing women, as well as those with renal or liver disease, should exercise extreme caution. DayQuil should only be administered with a doctor’s prescription.
  • Before taking medicine, both overweight and underweight people should contact with their doctors.
  • Patients who are hypertensive or diabetic should visit a doctor before starting DayQuil medicine.
  • If your cold or flu symptoms last longer than 5 – 7 days, see your doctor since your illness might be the result of a major underlying disease, such as tuberculosis (TB) or pneumonia.
  • Consult your doctor right away if your fever lasts more than three days. The fever might be caused by another ailment.
  • DayQuil should be stored at room temperature (20–22°C or 68–72 °F) and not refrigerated, since this may reduce the medication’s efficacy.
  • Drink more than 8 glasses of water every day to be well hydrated. You can also consume unsweetened fruit juices, but only 4 hours before or after taking your prescriptions. Certain fruits might not mix well with certain drugs. Citrus fruits, owing to their acidity, may further irritate an upset stomach.
  • While using NyQuil, avoid taking any other sedatives or medications that include sedative ingredients. This might result in extreme sleepiness.
  • Keep DayQuil out of children’s reach.

So, is it safe to use DayQuil at night? Is DayQuil keeping you up at night? Yes, you can take DayQuil at night because it has no drowsiness-causing components. Next, consider how food interacts with DayQuil.

DayQuil Food and Drug Interaction

  • DayQuil’s frequent side effects are amplified by alcoholic beverages; thus, avoid consuming these liquids while taking the medicine.
  • Other acetaminophen-containing medications would amplify the effects of DayQuil. Acetaminophen overdosage may cause liver damage, especially in alcoholics. As a result, avoid using any additional antipyretics or analgesics.
  • DayQuil should not be taken with any monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), since the two medications might interact and create health problems.
  • Limit your caffeine intake by eliminating the following foods: chocolate, soda, coffee, tea, certain herbal supplements, and any caffeine-containing food or beverage.

Also, avoid using DayQuil with the following medications, since they may interact and have bad effects:

  • Phenytoin
  • Carbamazepine
  • Phenothiazine
  • Isoniazid
  • Warfarin
  • Phenobarbital

What Is the Difference Between Taking Cold Medicine in the Morning (AM) and in the Evening (PM)?

Cold medications may be labeled for use in the morning (AM) or at night (PM). They often include the same components, with the exception that the AM or morning medicine is non-drowsy since it does not contain sedatives that might make you sleepy.

Some cold medications for use during the day may contain a stimulant, such as pseudoephedrine, a decongestant, to keep you alert.

The PM or evening cold medicine may contain a sedative that makes you tired or sleepy. This is why it is best consumed at night.

In the case of DayQuil and NyQuil, below is a list of their differences and similarities:

Major IngredientsPhenylephrine Hydrochloride Acetaminophen Dextromethorphan HBr. DayQuil SEVERE form contains guaifenesin, aside from the 3 ingredients.Doxylamine succinate Acetaminophen Dextromethorphan HBr. NyQuil SEVERE form contains guaifenesin, aside from the 3 ingredients.
Expected effect on sleepNo effect, non-drowsyHelps you fall asleep; causes drowsiness
Appropriate time of intakeDaytimeNighttime
Effectiveness in colds and flu treatmentEffectiveEffective
Side effectsThe same The same
DosageThe sameThe same


DayQuil contains phenylephrine hydrochloride, a non-drowsy ingredient that relieves nasal congestion.

Doxylamine succinate is an antihistamine component of NyQuil that can produce sleepiness.

Acetaminophen is an antipyretic and analgesic that is used to treat fever and pain.

Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide (HBr) is a cough suppressant as well as a cough remedy.

Guaifenesin is an expectorant that aids in the removal of mucus from the lungs and respiratory tract.

Does DayQuil cause drowsiness?

As previously indicated, DayQuil has a variety of potential adverse effects, including sleepiness and dizziness.

These adverse effects, however, may not necessitate medical treatment. Instead, they gradually fade as your body responds to the drug.

DayQuil, like most other over-the-counter medications for cold and flu symptoms, includes acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and pseudoephedrine.

While some people may have negative effects with dextromethorphan, others will not.

Dizziness and sleepiness are two of the nervous system adverse effects of dextromethorphan, which is a key element in DayQuil.

DayQuil will not put you to sleep, but NyQuil will.

In conclusion, DayQuil is a non-drowsy multi-symptom relief medicine that will not keep you awake if taken before bed and should not be used to try to stay awake since it lacks the active mimicking elements needed to promote alertness.

DayQuil has no effect on sleep patterns or quality.

NyQuil, on the other hand, includes doxylamine, an antihistamine that can make you drowsy; nevertheless, NyQuil should not be used just as a sleep aid because larger dosages might produce hallucinations.

DayQuil is a useful and safe medication; nevertheless, it may interact negatively with alcohol, MAOIs, and other medicines.

DayQuil, like other medications, may cause mild side effects such as nausea, vomiting, anxiety, and stomach discomfort, as well as significant adverse effects needing emergency medical treatment, such as an anaphylactic response.

It is uncertain whether DayQuil interacts with sleep drugs, although it is generally safe to use with nonmedicated sleeping aids.


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