DayQuil is a flu medication designed to help you feel better during the day. Is it safe to take it at night if it is designed for the day? Is it possible to take DayQuil at night?

DayQuil can be taken at night in the same way NyQuil can. There are no stimulants in DayQuil that will keep you awake. You can take DayQuil at night instead of NyQuil if you don’t enjoy the sedative effect of NyQuil.

You can take DayQuil at night if you take it every four hours and don’t take more than 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 other medications.

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

What is DayQuil?

DayQuil is flu and cold drug that helps with headaches, nasal congestion, fever, sore throat, mild pains, and cough. It is available without a doctor’s prescription over-the-counter (OTC).

Dextromethorphan HBr (cough suppressant), phenylephrine hydrochloride, and acetaminophen (pain reliever) are the active components in DayQuil (nasal decongestant). These components do not cause drowsiness.

DayQuil doesn’t ‘kill’ the virus that causes colds, but it can help with the symptoms and last a few hours. Unfortunately, there is currently no recognized medicine that can cure viral infections. The same is true when it comes to colds. Colds are self-limiting and will pass without treatment, but you don’t have to endure the symptoms. Therefore, it would be prudent to take Dayquil/NyQuil.

How does it work?

Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and a fever reducer. It works by altering how your body perceives pain. It also affects your body’s ability to regulate temperature. Dextromethorphan prevents you from coughing. Phenylephrine, the third component, is a nasal decongestant. It helps to minimize blood vessel swelling in the nasal passages.

Dayquil’s formulation

DayQuil is available in two forms: Adults can take Liquicaps, liquid-filled capsules, while children can take liquid forms.

Adults who find the gel caps bothersome can take the liquid form 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 equals 2 teaspoons liquid form or 30 ml liquid form. As a result, you can take 2 teaspoons every 4 hours without going above 120 ml in 24 hours.

The following active ingredients are found in each tablespoon (15 ml) of DayQuil: Acetaminophen 325 mg, dextromethorphan HBr 10 mg, phenylephrine 5 mg, and guaifenesin 200 mg.

The proper dosage of DayQuil

The patient’s age mainly determines the dosage.

  • Adults should take 1 gel cap every 6 hours, with a maximum of 4 doses in 24 hours.
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) syrup every 4 hours (children over 12 years old and adults).
  • For the syrup (6 to 12 years old), take 1 tablespoon (15 ml) every 4 hours, but no more than 4 doses in 24 hours.
  • DayQuil should not be given to children under the age of 6. Before taking any drug, talk to your doctor.

Dayquil’s effectiveness

  • According to a clinical investigation, “DayQuil/NyQuil is equally effective as Actifed DM plus paracetamol in managing the symptoms and signs of the common cold, but has fewer unwanted effects.” Furthermore, the patients had a better quality of life with DayQuil and NyQuil.
  • When used as directed, DayQuil is beneficial in treating cold and flu symptoms, particularly the acetaminophen component for fever and pain relief.

Pros and cons of DayQuil


  • Available over the counter
  • Combines three medications to treat many cold and flu symptoms
  • It doesn’t cause drowsiness
  • Works within 30 minutes
  • Available as a lower-cost generic


  • Not meant for long-term use
  • Can raise blood pressure
  • It needs to be taken multiple times a day
  • It can’t be used for children 6 years and younger
  • Not the best option for those who drink alcohol often because it can raise the risk of liver damage

Is DayQuil safe to take at night?

closeup photo of white blanket

DayQuil can be taken at night. There are no stimulants in DayQuil that will keep you awake. You could take DayQuil at night instead of NyQuil if you don’t enjoy the sedative effect of NyQuil.

Because of its non-drowsy formulation, DayQuil is best used throughout the day. Its ingredients don’t make you drowsy.

On the other hand, NyQuil contains doxylamine succinate, a drowsiness-inducing ingredient. NyQuil is advised for use at night because of this.

DayQuil can be used at night, but NyQuil should not be taken during the day because it may make you drowsy while driving or working.

What happens when you take DayQuil at night?

When you take DayQuil at night, it works the same way NyQuil does at night. Only NyQuil will make you sleepy because it contains a sedative, but Dayquil will not. DayQuil, on the other hand, contains no stimulants, so you won’t have any trouble sleeping.

DayQuil will not help you sleep if you already have a sleeping problem; it will only relieve your cold and flu symptoms. You will be able to sleep naturally once your symptoms have subsided.

However, both DayQuil and NyQuil may cause adverse effects in people who are susceptible to them.

Refer to the list of side effects above.

Does DayQuil prevent you from sleeping?

DayQuil should not keep you awake because it does not contain any stimulating ingredients that can keep you awake. The medication contains acetaminophen and dextromethorphan but not doxylamine, which induces drowsiness; phenylephrine, a non-drowsy substance, is used for nasal decongestion. DayQuil will help you sleep naturally while easing your symptoms.

What happens when you take DayQuil in the morning?

DayQuil is designed to be used first thing in the morning to help with cold and flu symptoms, so it will help you feel better. The condition will be treated with the correct dosage and intake of the drug. After taking DayQuil during the day, you will be free of cold or flu symptoms.

Some people may experience certain side effects. Sensitive people may experience common side effects. This could include any of the following:

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

Side effects

DayQuil has some unfavorable side effects. However, the majority of these adverse effects do not necessitate medical intervention. Instead, it may go away when your body adjusts to the drug. Any minor side effects that are uncomfortable or do not go away can be discussed with your doctor.

More common side effects

woman lying on bed

The following are some of the more common DayQuil side effects:

  • drowsiness
  • stomach pain
  • lightheadedness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • nervousness
  • trouble sleeping

Also, if you’re taking this medication, avoid grapefruit juice. Grapefruit juice may raise the levels of dextromethorphan, which is one of DayQuil’s ingredients. In addition, side effects such as anxiety and dizziness are more likely at higher dosages.

Serious side effects

An allergic reaction is a major side effect of DayQuil. Among the symptoms are:

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

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

Precautions for DayQuil

  • Children under six should not take the drug without first consulting a doctor.
  • Pregnant and nursing women and those with kidney or liver disease should exercise caution. Only a doctor’s prescription should be used to administer DayQuil.
  • People overweight or underweight should seek medical advice before taking any medication.
  • Patients with hypertension or diabetes should talk to their doctor before starting DayQuil.
  • If your cold or flu symptoms last longer than 5–7 days, see your doctor since you could be suffering from a primary underlying disease like tuberculosis (TB) or pneumonia.
  • If your fever lasts more than three days, see your doctor immediately. Another disease could cause fever.
  • Store DayQuil at room temperature (20–22°C or 68–72°F), not in the refrigerator, since this may reduce the medication’s effectiveness.
  • Drink more than 8 glasses of water per day to stay well hydrated. You can also have unsweetened fruit juices only 4 hours before or after taking your meds. This is because some drugs don’t mix well with some fruits. Citrus fruits may also worsen an upset stomach due to their acidity.
  • While on NyQuil, avoid taking other sedatives or medications that include soothing ingredients. This can lead to severe drowsiness.
  • Keep DayQuil out of children’s reach.

So, do you think you’ll be able to take DayQuil at night? Do you find DayQuil keeps you up at night? DayQuil can be taken at night because it has no ingredients that cause drowsiness.

Use with certain medical conditions.

DayQuil may exacerbate some medical conditions. If you have any of the following conditions, see your doctor before taking DayQuil:

  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • diabetes
  • thyroid disease
  • liver disease
  • an enlarged prostate that makes it hard to urinate


Too much acetaminophen in the form of DayQuil can cause severe liver damage. So make sure you’re not using any other medications that contain acetaminophen. Even if you take DayQuil exactly as prescribed, mixing it with other acetaminophen-containing medications can result in an overdose.

Even if you don’t notice any severe signs or symptoms immediately, contact your local poison control center if you accidentally ingest too much. Also, call 911 if you or someone you know has taken too much DayQuil or acetaminophen and passed out.


DayQuil has the potential to be abused. DayQuil should not be used to treat a productive or persistent cough caused by smoking, chronic bronchitis, asthma, or emphysema. Instead, consult your doctor for advice on treating these types of coughs.

Dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in DayQuil, is a commonly abused drug. It causes euphoria and even hallucinations in high dosages. This dangerous misuse is known as “robo-tripping” or “skittling,” leading to death. Take DayQuil only in the recommended dosage.

Serotonin syndrome

  • Other drugs that can influence serotonin levels in the brain are risk factors.

Serotonin syndrome is an uncommon but potentially fatal condition in which the brain produces too much serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in your brain that regulates your mood. Suppose you use Dayquil with other medications that alter serotonin levels (lithium, antidepressants, certain Parkinson’s disease medications, MAOIs), your risk increases.

Before starting Dayquil, tell your doctor about all the prescriptions and over-the-counter treatments you’re taking so they can rule out any interactions. For example, a fast heart rate, muscle stiffness or spasms, sweating, fever, and confusion are signs of too much serotonin. Contact your healthcare practitioner or seek medical attention immediately if you have any of these symptoms.

Allergic skin reactions

Dayquil might cause significant skin problems in some people. If you develop blisters, rashes, or skin turns red after taking Dayquil, stop taking it immediately and seek medical help.

Food and drug interaction of DayQuil

  • Alcoholic beverages aggravate the usual symptoms of DayQuil; therefore, avoid drinking these liquids while on the medication.
  • Other acetaminophen-containing medications would amplify the effects of DayQuil. In addition, acetaminophen overdose can harm the liver, especially the liver of alcoholics.
  • DayQuil should not be taken with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) because these medications can interact and cause health problems when taken together.
  • Limit your caffeine intake by avoiding soda, chocolate, tea, coffee, some herbal supplements, and any other caffeine-containing food or beverage.

Also, avoid taking DayQuil with the following medications, as they may interact and cause side effects:

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

What’s the difference between taking cold medicine in the morning and evening?

Cold medication may be labeled for use in the morning (AM) or at night (PM). The only difference is that the AM drug is non-drowsy because it does not contain sedatives that can make you sleepy.

Several cold medicines for daytime use contain a stimulant, such as pseudoephedrine, a decongestant, to keep you awake.

Cold meds taken in the evening or night may contain a sedative that makes you tired or sleepy. This is why it is suggested that you take it at night.

Here’s a list of the differences and similarities between day meds and night meds in the case of DayQuil and NyQuil:

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.
The expected effect on sleepNo effect, non-drowsyIt helps you fall asleep; causes drowsiness
Appropriate time of intakeDaytimeNighttime
Effectiveness in colds and flu treatmentEffectiveEffective
Side effectsThe same The same
DosageThe sameThe same

Note: Phenylephrine hydrochloride is a non-drowsy ingredient of DayQuil that helps clear your nasal passages.

  • Doxylamine succinate – is an antihistamine in NyQuil that might cause drowsiness when used for nasal decongestion.
  • Acetaminophen – is an antipyretic and analgesic used to treat pain and fever.
  • Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide (HBr) – is a cough suppressant and cough treatment.
  • Guaifenesin – is an expectorant that helps in the removal of mucus from the lungs and respiratory tract.

Dayquil vs. Nyquil: what’s the difference?

dayquil and nyquil

NyQuil for sleep and DayQuil for sleep, available in both liquid and pill form, can be used to help relieve typical cold and flu symptoms. One significant difference is that NyQuil causes drowsiness, whereas DayQuil does not.

This is because NyQuil contains an antihistamine, and DayQuil contains a nasal decongestant due to the makeup of the drugs. NyQuil’s antihistamine can make you tired, which will help you fall asleep at night even if you’re sick with the common cold or flu.

Conclusion: Is it safe to take DayQuil at night?

DayQuil is safe to take at night because it has no ingredients to interfere with sleep. You could take DayQuil at night instead of NyQuil if you don’t enjoy the sedative effect of NyQuil.

You should, however, take DayQuil as directed by your doctor. It’s meant to be taken throughout the day, whereas NyQuil is meant to be used at night. Following the dosage directions strictly can reduce your chances of suffering frequent symptoms.

Read the drug’s label carefully and follow the directions exactly. For example, NyQuil is best taken at night (as directed) because it contains antihistamine or doxylamine, which can induce sleep. DayQuil, on the other hand, does not possess an antihistamine that can help you fall asleep.


Is it possible to overdose on DayQuil?

Yes, ingesting more than 4 LiquiCaps (adults) or 120 mL (children) within 24 hours can result in overdosing.

When this happens, and you suffer any of the symptoms listed above, you should stop taking medicine and seek medical advice. Even if you don’t have any signs of an overdose, you should still see your doctor.

Overdosing can lead to liver and kidney problems, which you may overlook until it’s too late (asymptomatic).

Is DayQuil safe to take on an empty stomach?

Is it safe to take DayQuil on an empty stomach at night? Yes, DayQuil can be taken on an empty stomach. Although, if you’re prone to stomach upset, you can take this drug with milk or food to reduce the risk. Drink plenty of water or other liquids.

What is the more effective form of DayQuil? Is it better to use a gel cap or a liquid form?

Despite having the same therapeutic properties, the liquid form is more easily absorbed and broken down than the LiquiCap form. The liquid version is also easier to swallow for people with throat problems.

The LiquiCap form, on the other hand, may be easier to carry in your bag or pouch. This, however, would be dependent on your own choices.

Choose the DayQuil form that is most convenient for you, as long as you take the right amount of medicine at the right time.

Is it ok to use DayQuil when I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Before taking DayQuil, speak with your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.