This month, Influenster gave me the opportunity to try and review ZzzQuil. I’m a fan of sleep and everything around it. In my college days, I used to rely on things like NyQuil and Benadryl to get a good night’s sleep. Until now, I hadn’t tried the sleep-only version of NyQuil. In fact, lately I’ve used a battery of natural sleep aids for those late nights.
I got my free sample over a week ago, but had been waiting for the best time to use it. Typically, I don’t know that it’s going to be a sleepless night until it’s too late to take something for it. ZzzQuil advises 7-8 hours of sleep, and by the time I realize I’m going to have trouble, I only have 5 hours left before I have to get up for work. Last night, I made a promise to myself: nothing is so important that I have to deal with it right now; I will plan to be asleep by midnight and everything will be waiting for me in the morning.
I took my two liquid caps around 11:15 with the expectation that it would take a while to kick in. After 30 minutes, I wasn’t feeling tired at all. Let me explain, before we go any further, that the reason I normally have trouble sleeping at night is that I’m in a cycle of needing a nap in the afternoon. This is now more common, referred to as Biphasic Sleep, but still frowned upon in most circles. By this point, not only was I not tired, I was feeling anxious. I could feel the tissues in the back of my throat loosen and I was convinced that it was obstructing my breathing.
The active ingredient in ZzzQuil is the same as Benadryl, which has never been problematic for me in the past. I tried to convince myself that I would be fine, but I kept thinking I would suffocate if I fell asleep, and that thought kept me up for another hour. Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine, and the warnings advise not to take this with other allergy pills (lucky for me, I’d run out earlier in the week). It also advises not to take the medication if you have COPD as the chemical can thicken the mucus lining the throat and lungs. That’s the part that got me nervous. I’m still not 100% sure what’s wrong with my lungs, and that’s what has changed since the last time I used this sort of pill. The lung specialist just said I’m a puzzle and gave me some inhalers.
So there I was, awake at 2 in the morning, convinced that I wasn’t getting enough oxygen and that I would die in my sleep. And then? I don’t remember. I woke up some hours later completely baffled that I’d allowed myself to fall asleep at all. It knocked me out, but no sooner than I would have gone to sleep without the pills. Now that I know how my body responds, I’m certain that it would be safe, I just need to give myself two hours for it to kick in. It does what it’s supposed to do, but if you are sleepless because of anxiety, I doubt it will be particularly soothing to you. Add 2 hours to the 7-8 hours of sleep you need to get before you have to wake up, and take your ZzzQuil accordingly.
As for me, I think I’ll stick to melatonin, herbal teas, and fighting the stigma of biphasic sleep cycles.