Can You Take DayQuil at Night? Will It Keep You Up?

DayQuil is formulated to treat daytime symptoms of the flu. If it is formulated for the day, is it okay to take it at night? Can you take DayQuil at night?

You can take DayQuil at night, just like you would with NyQuil. DayQuil does not contain any stimulants which will keep you awake. If you do not like the sedative effect of NyQuil, you could take DayQuil at night instead.

Taken every four hours without exceeding 4 doses within 24 hours, you can safely take DayQuil at night.

Some people claim to feel mildly irritable after taking DayQuil, so keep that in mind. Like any medication, it doesn’t work for everyone.

Read on to learn more about taking DayQuil at night and its effects.

Can You Take DayQuil at Night?

You can take DayQuil at night. DayQuil does not contain any stimulants which will keep you awake. If you do not like the sedative effect of NyQuil, you could take DayQuil at night instead.

DayQuil is intended for daytime use because of its non-drowsy formulation. Its ingredients do not cause drowsiness. 

On the other hand, its night counterpart, NyQuil, contains doxylamine succinate, which causes drowsiness. This is the reason why NyQuil is recommended for nighttime use. 

You can take DayQuil during nighttime, but you should not take NyQuil during the daytime because you may become drowsy when driving or working.

What Is DayQuil?

DayQuil is a medication to treat flu and cold symptoms, such as headache, nasal congestion, sore throat, headache, fever, minor pains, and cough. You can buy it over-the-counter (OTC) even without a doctor’s prescription.

The active ingredients of DayQuil are dextromethorphan HBr (cough suppressant), acetaminophen (pain reliever), and phenylephrine hydrochloride (nasal decongestant). These components are non-drowsy.

Even though DayQuil cannot ‘kill’ the virus causing the colds, it would ease the symptoms. There is no specific, known drug that could cure you of viral infections. The same is true with colds. Colds are self-limiting and will go away on its own. But you don’t have to suffer the symptoms stoically. Taking Dayquil/NyQuil would be a smart option.

What Happens When You Take DayQuil at Night?

When you take DayQuil at night, it would have the same effect as its night counterpart NyQuil. Only NyQuil will cause drowsiness as it has a sedative ingredient, while Dayquil will not. But since DayQuil does not have any stimulants, you won’t have trouble sleeping.

In instances when you have an existing sleeping problem, DayQuil will not help you sleep but will only relieve your cold and flu symptoms. When your symptoms are alleviated, you will be able to sleep naturally.

Take note, however, that both DayQuil and NyQuil may have some side effects in susceptible or sensitive individuals. Refer to the above-mentioned side effects.

Does DayQuil Prevent You from Sleeping?

DayQuil should not prevent you from sleeping as it does not contain any stimulating ingredients that can cause you to stay awake. The drug contains dextromethorphan and acetaminophen but lacks doxylamine, which causes drowsiness. Instead, for nasal decongestion, it uses phenylephrine, which is a non-drowsy substance.

DayQuil would ease your symptoms and allows you to sleep naturally.

What Happens When You Take DayQuil in the Morning?

DayQuil is intended for intake in the morning to relieve your cold and flu symptoms, so it would alleviate your symptoms. Proper dosage and intake of the medication will provide treatment of the condition. You will be relieved of the symptoms of colds or flu after proper intake of DayQuil during the daytime. 

Some individuals may experience some of the side effects. Common side effects may be observed in sensitive individuals. This can include any of the following:

  • Dryness of the nasopharyngeal area
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling of nervousness
  • Upset stomach
  • Mild headache

Formulation of DayQuil

DayQuil comes in two forms: Liquicaps, which are liquid-filled capsules designated for adults, and in liquid form meant for children. 

Adults can also take the liquid form if they find it uncomfortable taking the gel caps. What’s important is that you must take the proper equivalent of the LiquiCaps in milliliters. 

Each LiquiCap contains 325 mg (milligrams) of acetaminophen, 10 mg of dextromethorphan HBr, and 5 mg of Phenylephrine. One LiquiCap is equivalent to 2 tablespoons of the liquid form or 30 ml of the liquid form. So, you can take 2 tablespoons every 4 hours without exceeding 120 ml per 24 hours. 

Each tablespoon (15 ml) of DayQuil contains these active components: 325 mg of acetaminophen, 5 mg of phenylephrine, 10 mg of dextromethorphan HBr, and 200 mg of guaifenesin.

Proper Dosage of DayQuil

The dosage largely depends on the age of the patient.

For adults: 1 gel cap every 6 hours – not to exceed 4 doses within 24 hours. 

For the syrup (children over 12 years old and adults): 2 tablespoons (30 ml) every 4 hours.

For the syrup (6 to 12 years old: 1 tablespoon (15 ml) every 4 hours not to exceed 4 doses within 24 hours

Children under 6 should not take DayQuil. Consult your doctor first before medication.

How Long Does DayQuil Last? [How Long It Stays in Your System]

Can You Overdose with DayQuil?

Yes, you can overdose by taking more than 4 LiquiCaps (adults) or more than 120 ml (children) within 24 hours.

When this happens, and you experience any of the symptoms previously mentioned, you should stop the drug and consult your doctor for proper treatment. If you have overdosed but don’t experience any of the symptoms, you still have to consult your doctor.

Overdosing can cause liver and kidney problems that you may not be able to detect early on (asymptomatic) until it’s too late.

can i take dayquil at night

Effectiveness of DayQuil 

  • A group of researchers in a clinical trial concluded that “DayQuil/NyQuil is as effective as Actifed DM plus paracetamol in controlling the symptoms and signs of the common cold, but have fewer adverse effects.” Furthermore, based on the study, the patients had a better quality of life with DayQuil and NyQuil. [1]
  • Taken properly, researches proved that DayQuil is effective in treating cold and flu symptoms, especially its acetaminophen component for fever and pain.

Can You Take DayQuil on an Empty Stomach?

Is it okay to take DayQuil at night on an empty stomach? Yes, you can take DayQuil on an empty stomach. But if you’re someone who can easily have an upset stomach, you can take this medication with milk or food to lessen this risk. Drink a lot of water or liquids as well.

What Is the More Effective Form of DayQuil? The Gel Cap or the Liquid Form?

Although both types of formulation have the same therapeutic effects, the liquid form is more readily absorbed and broken down than the LiquiCap form. The liquid form is also easier to swallow for patients with throat problems. 

Conversely, the LiquiCap form could be easier to carry around in your bag or pouch. Nevertheless, this would depend on your personal preferences. 

Choose the DayQuil form that is convenient for you as long as you take in the proper amount of medication at the designated time.

What Are the Side Effects of DayQuil?

Consult your doctor too if you observe any of these side effects after taking DayQuil:

  • Hallucinations
  • Chest pain
  • Uneven heart rate
  • Nausea 
  • Jaundice (yellow-colored skin or sclera of the eyes)
  • Severe dizziness
  • Severe headache
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Stomach pains
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia

If you’re allergic to any ingredients in DayQuil, anaphylactic reactions can occur. It could start with itchy skin rashes, swelling of the throat, and dyspnea (difficulty in breathing), among its other symptoms. If any of these symptoms are left untreated, this could result in anaphylactic shock and eventual death. 

If you notice any of these symptoms after taking DayQuil at night or during the day, stop the medication immediately and go to the hospital. A dose or injection of anti-allergy drugs would relieve the symptoms effectively. This would prevent further serious side effects. So, you just have to take immediate action as soon as you notice the symptoms to prevent fatal side effects.

Precautions for DayQuil

  • Again, children under 6 years old should not take the medication without consulting a doctor. 
  • Likewise, caution must be observed with pregnant and lactating women and those with kidney and liver impairment. DayQuil should only be given under a doctor’s prescription.
  • Overweight and underweight individuals should consult their doctors before medication. 
  • Hypertensive and diabetic patients must consult a doctor before commencing medication with DayQuil.
  • If your cold or flu symptoms persist for more than 5 – 7 days, consult your doctor as your condition may be a cause of primary underlying diseases, such as tuberculosis (TB) or pneumonia.
  • If fever persists for 3 days, consult your doctor immediately. There may be another disease causing the fever.
  • Store DayQuil at room temperature (20 – 22°C or 68–72 °F), and don’t refrigerate as this could lessen the effectiveness of the medication.
  • Hydrate yourself properly by drinking more than 8 glasses of water per day. You can drink unsweetened fruit juices as well, but drink them 4 hours before or after the intake of your medications. Certain fruits don’t blend well with some medications. Additionally, citrus fruits could aggravate an upset stomach due to its acidity.
  • Avoid taking other sedatives or drugs with sedative components while on NyQuil medication. This can cause severe drowsiness. 
  • Keep DayQuil out of reach of children.

So can you take DayQuil at night? Does DayQuil keep you up at night? Yes, you can take DayQuil at night as there are no ingredients that cause drowsiness. Next, let’s look at how food interacts with DayQuil.

Food and Drug Interaction of DayQuil

  • The common symptoms of DayQuil are exacerbated with alcoholic beverages; so, avoid drinking these liquids when under medication.
  • Other drugs containing acetaminophen would add to the effects of DayQuil. Overdosage of acetaminophen could cause liver damage, especially to alcoholics. So, don’t take in other antipyretics or analgesics.
  • DayQuil should not be taken together with any monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) as these drugs in combination can react with each other and cause health issues. 
  • Limit caffeine intake by avoiding these foods: chocolate, soda, coffee, tea, some herbal supplements, and any food or liquid that contains caffeine.

Also, avoid taking DayQuil with the following drugs, as it can interact with them, causing adverse effects:

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

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

Medication for colds may be labeled for AM (Daytime) intake or nighttime (PM) intake. Usually, they have the same ingredients, except that the AM or morning medication is non-drowsy as it doesn’t contain sedatives that could make you sleepy. 

Some colds medicines for daytime intake may have a stimulant, such as pseudoephedrine – a decongestant – to keep you awake.

The PM or nighttime medication for colds can contain a sedative that would make you drowsy or sleepy. This is why it’s recommended for nighttime intake. 

In the case of DayQuil and NyQuil, here’s a tabulated difference and similarities between the two drugs:

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


Phenylephrine hydrochloride – is a non-drowsy component of DayQuil that eases nasal decongestion.

Doxylamine succinate – is an antihistamine component of NyQuil for nasal decongestion that can cause drowsiness.

Acetaminophen – is an antipyretic and analgesic to relieve fever and pain.

Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide (HBr) – is a cough suppressant and cough treatment.

Guaifenesin – is an expectorant that helps excrete mucus from the lungs and the respiratory pathway.

Can You Take NyQuil During the Day?

Conclusion – Can I Take DayQuil at Night?

You can take DayQuil at night because it does not contain any ingredients that could affect your sleep. If you do not like the sedative effect of NyQuil, you could take DayQuil at night instead.

However, you should take DayQuil as indicated by your doctor. It is intended for daytime intake, while its night counterpart NyQuil should be taken at night. Reduce your risk of experiencing the common symptoms by following dosage instructions accurately. 

Read the label of the drug thoroughly and follow the instructions carefully. It is best to take NyQuil at night (as indicated) because it contains doxylamine or antihistamine that can help you fall asleep readily. In contrast, DayQuil does not contain an antihistamine that could help you fall asleep.

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