We’ve all had a cold so bad we need Nyquil. It’s something that everyone keeps available in their medicine cabinet. But few know much about it other than it alleviates cold and flu symptoms.
How long does Nyquil typically last? Well, the short answer is about 4-6 hours.
Once ingested, it can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes to kick in. However, one of the active ingredients in Nyquil causes it to have a longer-lasting effect.
One of the ingredients found in Nyquil, Doxylamine, is the substance responsible for the sedating effect of the medication. Simply put, doxylamine is responsible for making sure you have a good night’s sleep.
Doxylamine is also slower to go to work in your bloodstream which is what makes Nyquil an effective nighttime medication. Where it takes 15-30 minutes for the cold, cough, and flu medicines of Nyquil to kick in, the sedation of effects of doxylamine don’t hit your bloodstream until about 2-3 hours after ingestion. This is why the medicinal effects of Nyquil, total, can last 4-6 hours.
To truly leave your body, it can take up to 10 hours. If you still feel drowsy after 10-12 hours, you should seek medical assistance.
In addition to the nature of the medicine involved, there are other factors that affect the lengths of the effects of Nyquil. A person’s metabolism, age, amount and frequency of dosage, body mass, and other medications can all have an effect on how long the effects of Nyquil last.
Taking Nyquil for Sleep
Millions of Americans use Nyquil to combat cold and flu symptoms. What you might not know, however, is that a growing number of Americans use it as a sleep aid.
People develop an “addiction” to the stable, deep sleep that Nyquil can give them, and think that it’s ok to use it routinely when going to bed. But taking Nyquil, or any medication, to assist with sleep is not advised, and can lead to several more serious problems.
Effects of Nyquil on Sleep
The effects of Nyquil on sleep patterns can vary from person to person. Some people who have used it have experienced 4-6 hours of deep, restful sleep. Others have experienced 7-9 hours of the same high-quality sleep.
However, there is also a group of people that have reported interrupted sleep. They have woken up throughout the night, had weird or lucid dreams, had trouble breathing in their sleep, and even had trouble going back to sleep. When this happens, people will turn to more Nyquil to get back to sleep, and consuming more of the drug only compounds the problem.
If you take Nyquil in a way other than is recommended, it can be dangerous. A person can start to become dependent upon the positive effects of Nyquil on their sleep habits. There are even people who begin to take Nyquil on a nightly basis to help them sleep.
The thought of attempting to go to sleep without Nyquil can bring on feelings of anxiety within these people. This feeling of anxiety, in turn, forces them to reach for the drug to help put them to sleep.
As time goes on, people may notice that the amount of Nyquil they used to take no longer has the same effect. It may take longer for them to fall asleep, or they may wake up sooner. As a result, they then start to take more of the drug or take it more often. The answer to the question “how long does Nyquil last” changes drastically if dependence has built up in the person.
Having to take larger, or more frequent doses of the drug is a good sign that dependence has started to emerge. This dependence can then lead to addiction. And although Nyquil is a harmless, household substance, the addiction is no joke and can have some serious withdrawal symptoms.
If an addiction to nyquil forms, it’s wise to seek the help of a medical or mental health provider.
Like any addiction, addiction to Nyquil is not to be taken lightly. The withdrawal symptoms can be as severe, and last as long, as the withdrawals of more potent drugs. When overcoming a Nyquil addiction, here are some of the symptoms you can expect to face:
- Diarrhea, Vomiting, Stomach pain
- Cold Flashes
- Weight loss
If you’ve become heavily dependent on Nyquil for sleep, you can expect these symptoms to come on within a few hours of your last use. Symptoms will typically peak about three days after stopping use of the drug.
Addiction to Nyquil can become challenging because users can become addicted on two fronts: physical and emotional. The physical withdrawal symptoms can be beaten within a few weeks. However, the emotional withdrawal symptoms can hang around much longer. In fact, without the proper help or counseling, emotional symptoms of Nyquil withdrawal can last several months.
Put Your Addiction to Bed
It takes a lot of inner strength to admit you need help with an addiction. Even to a drug as commonplace as nyquil.
Just Believe Recovery offers integrated, evidence-based services, in both partial hospitalization and residential formats, and activities intended to treat alcohol and drug addiction. Our programs feature therapeutic resources vital for recovery, including psychotherapy, counseling, substance abuse education, group therapy, art, and music therapy, aftercare planning, and more.
If you have a family member struggling with this, or know someone who does, we’re happy to help. Contact us today and let us show you how to help them beat this.