Mixing Alcohol and ZzzQuil

There is an unfortunate tendency among many people to believe that it’s safe to mix alcohol and other substances, including sleep aids. There can be risks that come with this, and before you take any sleep aid, whether by prescription or one available over-the-counter, you should make sure you know the risks and any possible interactions it could have with other substances including alcohol.

What about mixing alcohol and ZzzQuil? What are the risks of the combination of alcohol and ZzzQuil, if any?

Below is general information about ZzzQuil, as well as specific facts about mixing alcohol and ZzzQuil.

Alcohol and ZzzQuil | Mixing Alcohol and ZzzQuil
Available over-the-counter, ZzzQuil is a very commonly used sleep aid with the active generic ingredient diphenhydramine. It’s available as a capsule and a liquid, and people turn to ZzzQuil when they suffer from insomnia, including having problems falling or staying asleep. It’s meant as a short-term remedy for sleeplessness, and people are advised not to use it for more than two weeks. One of the reasons some people prefer ZzzQuil over other sleep aids like Tylenol PM is because it doesn’t contain potentially harmful additional ingredients like acetaminophen. Diphenhydramine is actually an antihistamine, but a side effect of it is drowsiness, which is why it’s the active ingredient in ZzzQuil. If you do have sleep problems, particularly if they’re chronic, it’s recommended that you speak with your doctor before taking ZzzQuil or any other sleep aid. Some of the conditions that you should specifically speak with your doctor about before taking ZzzQuil include glaucoma, heart disease, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, an enlarged prostate or obstruction of the bladder or bowel. Side effects are possible with the use of ZzzQuil, and most commonly people report feeling something like a hangover the morning after taking it. Common ZzzQuil side effects can include confusion, clumsiness, drowsiness, dizziness, and headache. Other potential ZzzQuil side effects are dry mouth, constipation, thick secretions from the lungs and urination problems. There are also potentially severe side effects which are rare with ZzzQuil like anaphylaxis, low blood cell counts, seizures and toxic psychosis. What should you know about mixing alcohol and ZzzQuil?
It can seem like a natural thing to have a sleep aid and a glass of wine to further help yourself fall asleep, but it’s not recommended that you mix alcohol and ZzzQuil. First and foremost, both alcohol and ZzzQuil depress the activity of the central nervous system, which controls essential functions like respiration. When you combine two CNS depressants, the side effects can be more pronounced and can result in serious effects such as slowed respiration, and even coma or death. Even without severe side effects, mixing alcohol and ZzzQuil can lead to cognitive problems, higher levels of intoxication than normal and sedation. There’s a level of uncertainty that comes with mixing alcohol and ZzzQuil as well. For example, the results may be vastly different for one person versus another, even at the same doses, so that uncertainty is just one more reason you shouldn’t take alcohol and ZzzQuil at the same time. Some of the specific symptoms that can occur if you mix alcohol and ZzzQuil include:
  • Problems with mental alertness, balance, and coordination that can lead to an increased chance of being in an accident.
  • Fluctuations in blood pressure.
  • Brain fog, disorientation or unclear thinking.
  • Cognitive impairment and confusion.
  • Dizziness
  • Depression because both ZzzQuil and alcohol act as depressants
These are just a few of the possible symptoms of mixing alcohol and ZzzQuil. There are others as well, such as possible liver damage when these substances are taken in high doses together. Another rare but possible interaction between alcohol and ZzzQuil is psychosis, where a person might experience delusions and hallucinations. Before taking alcohol and ZzzQuil together, you should also remember that alcohol impairs your ability to sleep well. It may make you drowsy, but you don’t get quality sleep when you’re drinking alcohol, so it could make your ZzzQuil ineffective. While ZzzQuil on its own doesn’t have a particularly high risk of abuse or dependence, the risk of abuse is higher when you mix it with alcohol. Always be cautious when using ZzzQuil, and don’t combine it with alcohol.
If you’re considering mixing alcohol and ZzzQuil, you shouldn’t. First, both alcohol and ZzzQuil depress the central nervous system, and if you take too much of both substances, it can lead to severe side effects such as respiratory depression and even death. Also, there are quite a few other possible side effects that can come from mixing alcohol and ZzzQuil like brain fog, disorientation, loss of coordination and even psychological symptoms like depression or psychosis. Even if you’re not mixing alcohol and ZzzQuil, before taking this over-the-counter sleep aid, you should speak with your doctor to learn their recommendations, because it might not be the right choice for everyone.
Mixing Alcohol and ZzzQuil
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