Sleep Products

ZzzQuil vs NyQuil: Which One Is Better for Sleep? Differences Compared

ZzzQuil vs NyQuil

Recently, I was surprised when a friend mentioned that she sometimes takes NyQuil to help her sleep. I’ve only ever taken NyQuil when I have a cough, cold or flu. I also knew that the company that manufactures NyQuil has a different range of products that are especially for sleep. Thus, I wondered which one between ZzzQuil and NyQuil is better for sleep. Here’s what I found out.

NyQuil can do wonders in relieving cough, cold and flu symptoms. While it can also make you sleepy, it should only be taken when you’re sick since it has other active ingredients. If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep but you aren’t suffering from either the cold or the flu, it’s best to take ZzzQuil.

No more counting sheep when you can’t sleep. Just take Vicks ZzzQuil Nighttime Sleep Aid and in as little as 20 minutes, you’ll be drifting off to sleep. It works like a charm so you can expect a full night’s sleep. On the other hand, the Vicks NyQuil Cough, Cold & Flu Nighttime Relief is a must-try if you’re sick. You’ll start feeling relief from your symptoms in about half an hour. Plus, it will knock you out so that your body can get the rest that it needs.

ZzzQuil vs NyQuil Comparison Table

Sleep Aid
ZzzQuil
Cold and Flu Medicine
NyQuil
Vicks ZzzQuil Nighttime Sleep Aid, Non-Habit Forming, Fall Asleep Fast and Wake Refreshed, 48 Ct LiquiCaps
Vicks NyQuil Cough, Cold & Flu Nighttime Relief, 48 LiquiCaps - #1 Pharmacist Recommended – Nighttime Sore Throat, Fever, and Congestion Relief (Packaging May Vary)
Helps you to sleep
Provides cold and flu relief and makes you sleepy
Available over-the-counter
Sold over-the-counter
Safe for short-term use
Safe for short-term use
Non-habit forming
Non-habit forming
Affordable
Mid-range
Sleep Aid
ZzzQuil
Vicks ZzzQuil Nighttime Sleep Aid, Non-Habit Forming, Fall Asleep Fast and Wake Refreshed, 48 Ct LiquiCaps
Helps you to sleep
Available over-the-counter
Safe for short-term use
Non-habit forming
Affordable
Cold and Flu Medicine
NyQuil
Vicks NyQuil Cough, Cold & Flu Nighttime Relief, 48 LiquiCaps - #1 Pharmacist Recommended – Nighttime Sore Throat, Fever, and Congestion Relief (Packaging May Vary)
Provides cold and flu relief and makes you sleepy
Sold over-the-counter
Safe for short-term use
Non-habit forming
Mid-range
ZzzQuil bad take every night

What is ZzzQuil and What Is It Used for?

ZzzQuil is a range of over-the-counter sleep aid that is manufactured by Vicks, one of the companies owned by Procter & Gamble. These products come in various forms like liquicaps, liquid, gummies, and balm. They also use different active ingredients such as diphenhydramine, melatonin, and botanicals like chamomile, lavender, lemon and valerian root.

For comparison’s sake, we will be focusing on the most popular ZzzQuil product, the ZzzQuil Liquicaps. According to Vicks, it is a non-habit forming sleep aid which you can use to help you fall and stay asleep.

Is ZzzQuil Bad to Take Every Night?

ZzzQuil should only be taken occasionally and for no more than two weeks. While it is non-habit forming, your body will still get used to ZzzQuil.

In other words, your body might lose its ability to fall asleep on its own. If your sleeplessness persists, it’s better to consult your doctor to find other ways to help you sleep.

zzzquil review

What is NyQuil and What Is It Used for?

NyQuil is another range of medication that is produced by Vicks. They are made to provide cold, cough and flu relief. You can get them over-the-counter and they are available in forms like liquid, caplets, and liquicaps.

It works by relieving common cold and flu symptoms such as cough, fever, headache, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat and other minor aches and pains.

What Are the Differences Between ZzzQuil and NyQuil?

Ingredients

ZzzQuil

The active ingredient of ZzzQuil Liquicaps is diphenhydramine, a type of antihistamine. It blocks the histamine which our body produces during an allergic reaction.

When you have an allergic reaction, you often get a runny nose and watery eyes which are two symptoms caused by histamines. Hence, diphenhydramine is often used to provide allergy relief.

So why is diphenhydramine the active ingredient of ZzzQuil? Well, one of the side effects of diphenhydramine is drowsiness which is why ZzzQuil and other diphenhydramine products like Benadryl are often used by people with insomnia.

Other ingredients that ZzzQuil contains include the following:

  • FD&C Blue No. 1
  • FD&C Red No. 40
  • Gelatin
  • Glycerin
  • Polyethylene glycol
  • Purified water
  • Sorbitol sorbitan solution
  • Titanium dioxide

 

Some variants of ZzzQuil also contain 10 percent alcohol. But ZzzQuil LiquiCaps and ZzzQuil Alcohol-Free Liquid are non-alcoholic versions which you can use if you can’t take alcohol.

NyQuil

NyQuil has four active ingredients.
  • Acetaminophen – Acetaminophen, or what others might know as paracetamol, is a pain reliver and fever reducer.

  • Dextromethorphan (DXM) – This ingredient is a cough suppressant.

  • Doxylamine – Doxylamin succinate is another type of antihistamine which can relieve runny nose and sneezing. Just like diphenhydramine, it can cause drowsiness.

  • Phenylephrine HCl – It is a nasal decongestant which can provide temporary relief from a stuffy nose and sinus. It can also reduce swelling in the ears brought by the common cold, flu and allergies.

 

Its inactive ingredients include the following:
  • Citric acid
  • D&C Yellow No. 10
  • FD&C Yellow No. 6
  • FD&C Green No. 3
  • Flavor
  • Glycerin
  • Propylene glycol
  • Purified water
  • Saccharin sodium
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Sodium chloride
  • Sodium citrate
  • Sorbitol
  • Sucralose

 

NyQuil Liquid also has 10 percent alcohol but variants like the NyQuil Liquicaps and Alcohol-Free NyQuil Cold & Flu Nighttime Relief Liquid are alcohol-free.

Dosage and Effectivity

ZzzQuil

Adults and children 12 years of age and older may take up to two ZzzQuil LiquiCaps or 30 mL of ZzzQuil Liquid during bedtime. Take note that it shouldn’t be given to children under 12 years of age.

There are many factors that can affect its effectivity. However, it is recommended that you only take ZzzQuil when you can get at least eight hours of sleep. Otherwise, you might feel groggy when you wake up.

NyQuil

Adults and children 12 years of age or older can take up to two liquicaps or 30 mL of NyQuil Liquid every six hours. Children that are 6 to 11 years old can take up to 15 mL of Children’s NyQuil every six hours. You should never take more than four doses of NyQuil in a 24-hour period.

As for its effectivity, it might take about 30 minutes before you can feel its effects.

ZzzQuil NyQuil better sleep

Safety

ZzzQuil

ZzzQuil is relatively safe to take as long as you take note of these reminders:

  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, make sure to check with your doctor first before taking ZzzQuil. This goes for people who have medical conditions or are taking medication as well.
  • Do not consume alcohol together with ZzzQuil since this can cause complications and overdose.
  • Never operate machinery or drive after taking a dose of ZzzQuil.

 

NyQuil

This product is a good cold and flu medication. However, there are still some safety guidelines which you need to follow.

  • Consult your doctor before taking NyQuil if you are pregnant, lactating, taking medication or have existing medical conditions.
  • Do not take NyQuil if you have just consumed alcohol.
  • Do not consume acetaminophen together with NyQuil since this can cause liver damage.
  • Do not take this product if you are taking tranquilizers or sedatives.
  • Just like ZzzQuil, NyQuil can reduce your mental alertness and cause drowsiness. As such, never drive or operate machinery after taking it.

Possible Side Effects

ZzzQuil

If you’re taking ZzzQuil at higher doses or if you’re not getting adequate sleep after taking it, there’s a chance that you’ll develop minor side effects like the following.

  • day-time drowsiness after night-time use
  • loss of coordination
  • blurred vision
  • drowsiness
  • dry eyes
  • upset stomach
  • constipation
  • dry nose, mouth, or throat

There’s also a risk that you’ll experience serious side effects such as:

  • uncontrollable movements of the tongue
  • rapid or irregular heartbeats
  • tightness in the jaw or neck
  • feeling like you might pass out
  • painful urination
  • confusion
  • little or no urinating

 

NyQuil

Just like any other medication, NyQuil comes with potential side effects. 

  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • stomach pain, diarrhea or constipation
  • dry eyes, nose or mouth
  • drowsiness
  • restlessness
  • nervousness
  • blurred vision
  • mild skin rash

There are more serious side effects like the following as well:

  • difficulty urinating
  • allergic reaction characterized by hives, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing
  • seizure
  • severe headache
  • hallucinations
  • uneven heartbeat
nyquil review
Dayquil is like Nyquil but it will not make you drowsy

Is It Okay to Take ZzzQuil and NyQuil Together?

Though both products can make you sleepy, they are made for different purposes. Only take NyQuil if you are suffering from a cold or flu. Otherwise, if you need help falling asleep, just take ZzzQuil.

Remember that these products both contain antihistamines. If you take them at the same time, you might overdose or develop serious complications. Some of these include a decrease in blood pressure, severe drowsiness, and respiratory depression.

Not to mention that both drugs are anticholinergic. This means that you might get dehydrated, suffer from dry eyes or get constipation if you take them together.

Reviews

Vicks ZzzQuil Nighttime Sleep Aid


I’ve used this highly popular sleep aid a couple of months ago when I was having trouble sleeping.

I liked that it only took about 25 minutes for me before I started feeling sleepy and finally fell asleep.

I slept for 8 hours straight which is a rare thing for me, so I find this quite effective. There were also no “hangover” effects for me, something that I’ve often experienced with other sleep aids.

See the price and read real reviews

Vicks NyQuil Cough, Cold & Flu Nighttime Relief


Since my friend recommended this NyQuil product a couple of years ago, I’ve been using it whenever I get a cold or the flu.

I often get sinus pain due to congestion whenever I get the cold, but I find relief a few minutes after taking this.

I also like that it knocks me out so I can get enough rest despite being annoyed by the symptoms that I get whenever I’m down with the flu.

See the price and read real reviews

Pros and Cons of ZzzQuil and NyQuil

ZzzQuil

Pros

  • Can be purchased without a prescription
  • Can be found in leading physical and online stores
  • Fast-effecting
  • An effective sleep aid
  • Available in various forms and flavors
  • Non-habit forming

 

Cons

  • Can cause dependence if taken too often
  • Doesn’t target the root of the sleep disorder

 

NyQuil

Pros

  • Very effective in minimizing cold and flu symptoms
  • Can provide relief in about 30 minutes
  • Can be purchased without a prescription
  • Can be found in leading physical and online stores
  • Available in various forms and flavors
  • Will knock you out while your body heals itself

 

Cons

  • Possible side effects
ZzzQuil NyQuil difference
Zzzquil is better for sleep

Final Words

ZzzQuil is better for sleep and NyQuil is a cough, cold and flu medicine. Since they are made for these purposes, you should only use them as such.

Only take NyQuil if you’re sick since it has active ingredients that are used to relieve certain symptoms. If you’re looking for a sleep aid, then ZzzQuil is your better option.

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