REVIEW: Vicks ZzzQuil

Vicks ZzzQuil

There were times during my post-college schooling that I would resort to NyQuil just to get some sleep. Afflicted with psychosomatic symptoms which, of course, were thin excuses to take the cold medicine, I would reach for that trademark-shaped bottle.

I conjured up symptoms like a scratchy throat while knowing I could scarf down salty pretzels with ease. Is my nose stuffy? Time for NyQuil, but I knew inside I was breathing fine. Is it 10:00pm? Time for NyQuil. You say the moon is out? Hells yeah, pour me two fingers please.

For the record, my favorite was the blue-green liquid because I thought the worse it tasted, the better it worked. Also, it looked like it was from the future. You know how movies let the viewer know it’s the year 3000 by having people at a bar drink blue or green cocktails in silver clothing. That’s what I imagined when I drank it.

I know a lot of us out there abused NyQuil’s magical qualities at one point. Then those stupid meth heads ruined all the fun. Medicines are now cut with weaker ingredients that frankly do not work as well as the old stuff.

I had to give the pharmacist my driver’s license just to buy the original NyQuil (renamed NyQuil-D) when the poor wife was suffering from a bad cold. Thanks a lot meth addicts. You deserve the sunken looks, splotchy skin and the occasional blown up limbs.

Suspiciously, it seems Vicks is keenly aware of NyQuil and its uses regardless if one is suffering from a cold. I have no evidence of this but how else to explain their new product ZzzQuil?

Not one to pass up a good time, I was fascinated by its name. It looked like a fake product hawked on a Saturday Night Live skit or a bad Wacky Packages card. I couldn’t believe it was real but tossed it in my cart along with the gummy fiber pills and rectangle tins of mustard sauce sardines.

Taking a picture, I posted the product on my social network to get a reaction. Friends alike kept asking if this was real. Yes Virginia, there is a ZzzQuil.

I went ahead and experimented in various methods to see how effective this purple berry flavored elixir was. Taking the next four days to get familiar with ZzzQuil, I rubbed my hands together and hoped for the best.

Night One: I ate a pot roast dinner about four hours prior to getting into to bed. No dessert so my stomach should be fairly settled. I removed the plastic mini cup and poured a shot of ZzzQuil. I sniffed and gagged as the distinguished bitter medicinal smell was there to say “Hello.”

I slugged it as fast as possible and noted that it was much more palatable than the blueish or the red cherry NyQuil. It’s true, a spoonful (or three) helps the medicine go down because it was damn sweet. The “warming berry flavor” was more of a nondescript sugary taste, thus explaining the ingredient: high fructose corn syrup. As viscous the medicine was, the ZzzQuil did not coat my tongue or throat. Like my favorite gin martini, it went down easy.

Despite the berry flavor, true as it states on the package, there was a warming effect in my stomach. However, there was a problem as I never felt groggy or sleepy soon after taking it. In fact, it took maybe an hour for it to work, if it did work at all. I wasn’t sure if it was the medicine or it was just normalcy that lulled me to sleep time.

Waking up, I did not feel out of it or tired as sometimes NyQuil does to a person. I was left with the question if this stuff works at all.

Night Two: I took ZzzQuil an hour earlier before bedtime. Watching Les and family toss out crazies in Hardcore Pawn made me laugh, which has some of the best confrontations this side of Cheaters. Two episodes in and I still did not feel tired.

Don’t judge me, but I enjoyed the mini-marathon so much I almost forgot I had taken the sleeping aid. I was able to devour quite a few “eff-youze” and only crashed when I decided to go to sleep. I never got that “fuzzy” or slow-motion brain thing when medicine makes you take a nap. Again, it failed.

Night Three: With my wife gone out of state to speak at some superhugeimportant symposium, I chose to take it so early that the sunlight was still out. Yes, I imbibed the purple concoction as soon as I got home from work. The 6:30 pm news blagged on about the thunderstorm warnings as I went through my evening routine of a shower, a neat scotch, and reading my e-mail as I made dinner.

It did not work. I was able to watch television, play some Diablo III and search for some Mexican Ghostbuster II t-shirts on eBay. I fell asleep when I went to bed at my normal time and I even broke the cardinal rule of no alcohol when taking this medicine.

Day Four: After spending Saturday morning getting a haircut, shopping for power ties, and buying some songs on iTunes, I went over to the almost empty bottle. I slammed down another shot and settled down with a couple of episodes of Lizard Lick Towing. Complimenting my trash television, I drank a couple of bottles of Newcastle’s Limited Edition Werewolf beer I acquired at my local Publix supermarket.

I followed my dosage by watching the underrated “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” listening to M83’s album twice (which some of its lush ambient songs themselves can bring you to sleep) while working on some manuscripts, half watched a rerun of Bridezillas, and internet shopped for some argyle sweater vests. I also drank three martinis sans olives, ate a mashed potato sandwich and scarfed down a handful of gumdrops. Not once did I get that sleepy feeling. Although, I did get drunk and felt like a loser because of how I spent my Saturday.

Vicks ZzzQuil Closeup

ZzzQuil was disappointing. It was also expensive and, frankly, there are better over-the-counter alternatives that do work. I never felt tired, rather all I felt was regret and disgust. ZzzQuil is a non-habit forming sleeping aid, but it doesn’t seem to work, which is, perhaps, why it’s non-habit forming.

Speaking of habits, I believe ZzzQuil has gotten me addicted to truTV’s lineup of colorful reality (or Actuality, as they brand it) shows and mashed potato sandwiches. The only effects this sleeping medication have had on me are embarrassment and self-loathing. I don’t condone the methods (except Night One) I’ve used, but I’m in need of some sleep and I think my throat is getting scratchy.

(Active Ingredients – 30 mL dose cup – 50 milligrams of dipenhydramine HCI. 10% alcohol. Inactive Ingredients – citric acid, ethanol, FD & C blue #1, FD & C red ##40, flavor, high fructose corn syrup, polyoxyl 40 stearate, propylene glycol, purified water, saccharine sodium, sodium benzoate, and sodium citrate dehydrate.)

Item: Vicks ZzzQuil
Purchased Price: $6.29
Size: 6 fl. oz.
Purchased at: Publix
Rating: 2 out of 10
Pros: Goes down easy. The name ZzzQuil is pretty awesome. Nice warming feeling in my belly. The color purple is nice. Wacky Packages. No groggy feeling in the morning. Watching Hardcore Pawn and Lizard Lick Towing.
Cons: The price. It is way too sweet. It was seldom effective. Learning about yourself may cause disappointment. Wasting an entire Saturday. Watching Hardcore Pawn and Lizard Lick Towing.

172 thoughts to “REVIEW: Vicks ZzzQuil”

  1. It didn’t work for me at all.
    I took 3 hrs ago and I am still awake typing this.

    (I have jet lag)

  2. Zzzquil is just liquid Benadryl….. You’re paying way too much for marketing! You can get the same exact thing for $2.00 (probably less).

    1. I agree – it’s a rare person that doesn’t get drowsy taking diphenhydramine. Unless the dose is really low.

    2. True. That’s what most over the counter sleep aids are. It’s better to buy generic dyphedhydramine.

  3. Just buy some melatonin. It’s all natural and your brain produces the chemical when it’s sleepy time. Trust me. Best sleep you’ll ever get.

    1. Melatonin? No, thanks. Just 2 of 50mg Seroquel plus 2mg Xanax is the perfect solution. Both are used to treat insomnia from mild to severe. At first, Seroquel will work, but after a while..say a may be less effective unless depending on diet, etc. Seroquel helps to stay asleep while Xanax boost the initial “sleepy” process.

  4. I think you should try it again without drinking alcohol… also, while taking it, try to go to bed (not watching tv, that’s what keeps you awake). I take ZzzQuil liquicaps and they work on me. Most of the times I have trouble while trying to sleep, but when I take two of them, they make me sleep. Of course I stay in bed the whole time I’m waiting for them to work, I turn off my phone, my laptop and don’t have a tv in the room, so I don’t get distracted. It may not sound convincing, but believe me, I can spend hours trying to fall asleep.

    Anyway, it doesn’t matter the way you get a little sleeping aid, hope you can have a proper sleep.

  5. It just simply does not work. We bought the pill form, even took a more than recommended dose and….NOTHING. Waste of $

    1. Sad and great news. A family member died during the first night of using this product. It was extemely extensive and long wait, etc. Finally, to avoid the initiated lawsuit, the company settled for $1.3m. I will be receiving a chunk of percentage while its split among select family members, friends, charities, etc. $275,000 will not bring the person back but it eases the pain and give “closure” people refer to. Buy at your own risk!

      1. That is sad and shocking to hear!
        Did the family memmber have a pre-existing condition? or were they on a lot of other medications?

        It could be a coincidence maybe??
        I know for sure I will not be buying this product.

        If I can not sleep, some alcohol works quite well- esp strong stuff (one shot makes me sleepy+ having to take allergy med at night).

  6. Nyquil was the only over the counter medication that helped me to sleep when I had a bad cold. I tried the new zzzquil to sleep and it didn’t work and it’s too expensive!

  7. I used zzzzzquil for over a week. I did not get a full night sleep, I woke up at 3am and unable,e to go back to sleep.
    It raised my blood pressure which in turn give me excruciating headaches. I would NOT be purchasing it anymore.

  8. I used zzzzzquil for over a week. I di not get a full night sleep, I woke up at 3am and unable,e to go back to sleep.
    It raised my blood pressure which in turn give me excruciating headaches. I would NOT be purchasing it anymore.

  9. i take two or three shofs of the stuff, lay in bed for about four hours, i feel like the stuff is meant to keep you awake honestly.

  10. I don’t know. It worked well enough for me. It could be because I weigh so little, but it knocked me out within 45 minutes. (I took slightly more than recommended dosage.) I then, woke up feeling very sluggish and it persisted throughout the day. Later that night, I got an immense headache and felt sleepy very early in the evening. I fell asleep, mostly to try and subdue the throbbing head pain (which was primarily on the left side) and kept waking up due to the stinging sensation in my head. Not too soon after that, I started throwing up- much similar to migraine symptoms and practically cried myself back to sleep because I hurt so bad.

  11. I find it doesn’t work at all when you have had a lot to eat before taking it. I would reccomend taking it on an empty stomach


    1. And read the side effects on the Benadryl package – #1 is drowsiness. It’s also the primary ingredient in Dramamine. It helps with motion sickness, allergic reactions, and makes you sleepy. Part of it’s all about the time release profile of each.

    2. I wonder why allergy medicine have that stuff to put people to sleep?! People have allergy, not insomia. So fucked up!

  13. hahaha! Brilliant. Didn’t work on me either! What a load of crap it is. Enjoyed your humorous account of your experience though!

    1. oh and I felt groggy and crappy the next day! Needless to say this product made it’s way swiftly into my trash. I think having a red wine (or two) works far better than the Zzzquil!

  14. Nasty tasting stuff, do not know why nearly all otc liquids have that nasty berry flavor. why not try lemon/lime or mint or orange or apple?

  15. I forgot to mention,that I have found that celestial seasoning sleepy time tea with honey is a great bedtime relaxer and sleepaid.

  16. Ah, the good ole’ placebo effect, er, I mean marketing.

    Diphenhydramine has been on the market since the 40’s, first as an allergy medicine,then of course, they decided to market the drowsy side effect as if it were a different medicine, and voila, OTC sleep aid was born. Now, decades later, Vicks decides to slap a new name on it, market it as if it were some new miracle sleep aid, and charge 10 times as much for it. Sadly, people are falling for the scam. Because that’;s exactly what it is, a scam. I’ve actually encountered people who refuse to believe it’s an old drug. Sorry folks, but 25mg of diphenhydramine is the same whether you pay $1 for generic, $5 for Benadryl, $7 for Unisom or a ridiculous $12 for ZzzQuil.

  17. You realize this is liquid benadryl, yes? At my local walmart you can get two 100ct bottles of diphenhydramine HCL (active ingredient in benadryl) for about $6 and some change. Also I don’t think ZzzQuil is marketed to actually make you sleepy and what not. From my understanding it is used as a sleep aid, meaning that it will help you stay asleep longer and give you more of a sound sleep. You said you woke up not feeling groggy or anything, that’s because you slept the whole night. No tossing or turning. Just sleep. Sweet sleep. That is what ZzzQuil is marketed for. Buy some diphenhydramine, take 4-6 and tell me how you feel. Since all you want is to make yourself sleepy. I bet you’ll be knocked out within an hour. And no this is not harmful to your body. I do it 5-6 times a day. Diphenhydramine is the least harmful drug on the shelves from my experience and understanding.

  18. I’ve been stressed due to a move, waking up almost every night around 3am, and totally sleep deprived. Have taken 2 capsules on several nights and it definitely helped me. Although I still woke up a couple of time (always do) I was able to go right back to sleep.

  19. You are absolutely hilarious!!!! I accidentally grabbed
    the name brand, instead of the knock off (which has
    ONLY diphenhydramine)that’s all I wanted. Liquid Benadryl
    so I can sleep. Had sticker shock when the WalMart girl
    rang it up @ almost 8$!!! Thought”this must be great!”
    I don’t drink,so I don’t know if it was the”inactive”
    alcohol??? Or what!!! But I went on to sleep and woke up
    twice before 2:30 am, and then couldn’t get back to sleep.
    I wasn’t able to get to Church today. I’ll be paying attention from
    now on!!! For tonight, it’s back to the plain Equate Benadryl pills,
    that I have to take @7!!!!! for them to work at 10. Seriously
    you need to consider stand up:) thoroughly enjoyed your review!!!

  20. It doesn’t work, took it 2 nights and it took me 3-4 hours to fell asleep. Almost seems like to makes it harder to fall asleep

  21. It worked for me. My problem was staying asleep. I also woke up maybe once or twice throughout the night taking this last night, but feel right back to sleep unlike prior to taking it. I recommend it. I will however look in to buy straight up diphenhydramine HCL as many on here have suggested – since it’s suppose to be cheaper and has the same affect considering that’s what supposedly is in the zzQuil.

  22. I tried Zzzquil and it did nothing for me. However, Dayquil will put me to sleep like a baby. It has the nice warming effect in the tummy. Even Dollar General’s generic equivalent to Dayquil works like a charm.

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