Does DayQuil Keep You Awake?

If you’re tired of suffering from cold and flu symptoms, DayQuil provides an all-in-one solution to get you back in tip-top shape in both a liquid form or a pill form. When it comes to this medicine, DayQuil can be taken in the morning or at night. That being said, does DayQuil keep you awake?

We’ve answered this commonly-asked question below as well as provide you with all you need to know and more about this combination medication.

👇 Jump Straight To the Answer 👇

What is Dayquil?

Does Dayquil Keep You Awake?

The active ingredients in DayQuil include acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and phenylephrine. These three medications serve their own purpose to enhance the overall effectiveness of DayQuil.


Acetaminophen is a pain-reliever and fever-reducer. When taken, this drug, also known as Paracetamol alters the way the body senses pain and cools down the body through the heat-regulating center of the brain.


Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant drug that’s often found in most over-the-counter cold and cough medicines. This is because dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant. 

The drug dextromethorphan accesses your body’s blood-brain barrier and targets the sigma opioid receptors to relieve any coughing you might be experiencing. Dextromethorphan contains many beneficial properties that can be found in both DayQuil and NyQuil.


Phenylephrine hydrochloride is a nasal decongestant that decreases swelling in the nose and ears, thus making it easier to breathe. This works by activating the alpha-1 adrenoceptors in your nasal mucosa which stimulates the drainage of the sinus cavities.

When combined, each of these medications works together to fight the side effects that come with the common flu or cold. These side effects include:

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

Each of these drugs can be taken at the start or end of your day to relieve the uncomfortable effects of the common cold and flu. When combined in the form of DayQuil, do these medications keep you awake at night?

Does DayQuil contain caffeine?

DayQuil does not contain caffeine or any other stimulant.

Does DayQuil keep you awake?

shutterstock 1285836277

DayQuil will not keep you awake.

When you take DayQuil before going to bed, the medication will not prevent you from sleeping because there are no stimulants in the active ingredients of the drug.

The active ingredients in DayQuil are all classified as non-drowsy, meaning your body will remain in its natural state in terms of energy. Plus, DayQuil does not contain caffeine.

That being said, it’s important to note that DayQuil does not contain any aspects that could qualify it as a sleep aid and will not make it easier or harder to fall asleep at night. 

Similarly, DayQuil will not cause you to stay awake while trying to fall asleep at night, as it does not contain caffeine, as caffeine typically causes you to get a burst of energy. That being said, sleeping will not be hindered by DayQuil because it won’t keep you awake.

If you’re experiencing severe cold and flu symptoms that last more than 24 hours or several days, you should stop taking DayQuil and call your doctor, as they will be able to provide you with stronger medication to provide relief. 

If you’re currently pregnant or nursing, also be sure to consult a health care provider before taking either liquid or pill forms of NyQuil or DayQuil.

The difference between DayQuil and NyQuil

shutterstock 1646296681

NyQuil for sleep and DayQuil for sleep in both their liquid and pill forms can be used to help provide relief for common symptoms associated with a cold and flu. There’s one key difference between the two: NyQuil will cause drowsiness, while DayQuil is a non-drowsy drug.

This is due to the makeup of the drugs, as NyQuil has an antihistamine while DayQuil contains a nasal decongestant. The antihistamine in NyQuil’s formula can cause drowsiness, which will help you fall asleep at night despite feeling sick from the common cold or flu.

Non-medicinal ways to fall asleep when sick

shutterstock 65732260

While taking Dayquil can be beneficial for the flu or a cold, Dayquil does not contain the properties to help you sleep at night in the same way a sleep aid would. Despite this, there are plenty of other ways to get a restful night of sleep without any sort of severe medication.

Take a steamy hot shower

When your nasal cavity is blocked due to a cold, flu, sinusitis, or allergies, it can feel impossible to clear your sinuses. In order to relieve these symptoms, taking a hot shower that fills your bathroom with lots of steam can offer the perfect solution.

This is because the abundance of steam can help loosen up the mucus in your nasal cavity and allow you to clear out your runny nose with ease. As a result, it will be easier to get good sleep at night.

Create the perfect sleeping sanctuary

Surrounding yourself with the best environmental conditions can help relieves your sickness symptoms dramatically. In order to do so, investing in an air purifier or a humidifier can help remove irritants from the air as well as add moisture to the air to create a more ideal sleeping area.

Find the right sleeping position for you

When you need a cough suppressant or relief from the cold, or flu, the position you sleep in can make or break whether or not you get a good sleep at night. For instance, when you sleep on your back, it can make nasal congestion worse.

For best results, prop up your pillows and sleep at an angle on your side to prevent nasal congestion, thus making going to bed easier when you’re feeling sick with a sore throat, cough, or other illnesses.

Side effects of DayQuil

As with most medications, there are side effects of DayQuil that you should be aware of before you take DayQuil. Common side effects of this medication include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Liver damage for those with alcoholism

If you are allergic to acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, guaifenesin, or phenylephrine hydrochloride, you should not use this medication. DayQuil severe side effects may occur for those with other medical conditions such as diabetes, liver damage, high blood pressure, glaucoma, and alcoholism.

That being said, it’s crucial that you ask a doctor or pharmacist if the liquid or pill forms of DayQuil and NyQuil are safe for you to take before use. 

If you experience DayQuil severe side effects when you take DayQuil like mood changes, shaking, weakness, problems urinating, stop taking DayQuil immediately and consult your doctor, as continuing the medication could lead to further complications.

How to take DayQuil

When it comes to the advised dosage and hours taken of DayQuil or NyQuil, it all depends on your age, medical condition, and whether or not you’re taking a liquid or pill form of the drugs NyQuil and DayQuil. 

For instance, for adults and children 12 years old and older, take 2 LiquiCaps of NyQuil or DayQuil with water every 4 hours. For children ages, 4 to under 12 years old, ask a doctor before using DayQuil or NyQuil. 

No matter your age or medical condition, be sure not to exceed 4 doses per 24 hours and store the medication at room temperature. After taking the medication, drink plenty of fluids in order to help loosen the mucus in your lungs.

The Bottom Line

All in all, DayQuil can be extremely helpful in relieving symptoms that come with having the flu, cough, sore throat, or cold. When it comes to sleeping at night, does DayQuil keep you awake? DayQuil does not contain any stimulants like caffeine in its ingredients, so it won’t have you awake all hours of the night while trying to sleep.

DayQuil and NyQuil differ because NyQuil will cause drowsiness, while DayQuil contains no stimulants and is a non-drowsy medication that won’t keep you awake at night. If you’re breastfeeding, pregnant, or have a serious medical condition, avoid taking DayQuil or NyQuil in their liquid or pill form.

It’s strongly advised that you seek medical advice from your doctor to see if DayQuil is the right fit for you, especially to avoid any severe side effects that may arise when taking DayQuil.

Macie Maislin

My mother told me to follow my dreams, so I took a nap.