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. “Do not drink alcohol while taking ZzzQuil, this may increase drowsiness and become dangerous to your health.”

    Ingredients include: 10% alcohol


    More like “Do not drink alcohol while taking ZzzQuil, we have already spiked it for you.”

  2. Damn this stuff is horrible. I usually smoke myself to sleep bt cant cause of a drug test, so i got this.. this was the worst 8$ i spent. Im up and mad! I took the medicine around 830-9pmand took aboutdouble the recommened dose and it doesnt work. If you want to jus keep getting “hot flashes” all night and sweat thats what this is.. its 135am and i was just about to go cruising or something till i found this. Like everyone saying above its just a 9$ thick juice… itll only make u feel worse than not being able to sleep regularly.

  3. It sucks!!! Nyquil-D works better, so I use that whenever I’m out of Sero. Everyone knows that Seroquel is the best sleep med. Btw, the author, why is he married? Wouldn’t it be koolif he was with a dude instead? 😛 So, yeah, ZzzQuil sucks!

  4. Spilled on new white comforters while opening sealed bottle attempting to try for the first time….Off that bat, I don’t like it.

  5. I have found this stuff to be very useful. I take it, then go to bed within an hour. I sleep all night, or if I need to get up to use the bathroom, I go right back to sleep. Without it, I don’t sleep at all.

  6. first time buying Zzquill, it made me tired with an hour fell asleep then only woke up once to use the bathroom and went back to sleep within 15 minutes I got my full hours of sleep I think it all depends on the person, first time users just buy the capsules of 12 pills. I’ll keep on taking them they really make me sleep good now days it’s really hard for me to sleep I have a lot of nerve damage in my left arm it’s hard to sleep without any sleep aids, I get a lot of pain in my hand at my mind focuses on.
    black people don’t like this part I think it’s because they are not ready for bed not in bed so the medicine can kick in when you take them you just gotta be ready for bed be warm stay warm be comfortable let your mind relax I do recommend for people to take these just give it a try if it helps them at all. I bought mine at Walmart close to 5 dollars for 12 pills I gave it a try I like it so far

    1. myself typer on my tablet I think it hates black people lol no but really sorry I was trying to mean I don’t think people like these cause arent ready for bed or they’re body doesn’t like it

  7. I completely agree! Im in college and rarely get a good nights sleep. I have tried this MULTIPLE times as well and felt no different whatsoever.

  8. I started taking the pill version of this since i can’t stand the flavor of the syrup. I think it works TOO well. I take it at 10 PM, fall asleep around 10:30 PM and I’m still drowsy at 10 AM the next day. I think i’m going to start only taking 1 pill. But if I don’t take it I’m up till 2 AM reading. -___-

    1. @Axia – Look up sleep studies and the time associated with how long you sleep. If you sleep 12hrs, you will always wake up still groggy/sleepy. There’s times that you reach REM sleep, come out of it and then return to it. It’s something like, on even hours, you are in REM sleep. For instance, if you sleep 7 hours, you should wake up rested, once you reach 8 hours, it’s harder to wake since you are back in deep REM sleep. ZzzQuill just gives people a better regulated sleep feeling. So, you will stay asleep and not wake up all night long. It’s just Diphenhydramine (Benadryl and/or Sominex) Same ingredient.

    2. All you are really taking is Benadryl. You can get a store brand of Benadryl in liquid or tablets for far less than this product. Word of caution…do not take this or Benadryl if you have restless leg syndrome.

      1. Very well stated. I felt like I was having an anxiety attack and where I would usually shake my ankles, instead felt like they were seizing up causing even less sleep..

  9. Look at the active ingredients and compare to allergy medicine…. You will save LOTS of money doing a little bit of research!

    1. Yep. It’s just really expensive diphenhydramine. I get it a Dollar Tree for, you guessed it, a dollar. Sold as both allergy pills & sleep aid.

  10. I haven’t taken the liquid form, but I’ve started to try out the Zzzquil capsules. I’m an anxious person and suffer from depression so I find that taking things like Nyquil (or other medicines that help make you sleep) help me out a lot at bed time. So far, it hasn’t done anything for me (but maybe that’s because I have a high tolerance from trying out so many things). Once I’m done with this box, I’m switching back to Advil PM. That stuff works really well! Under less than a half hour, I’m drowsy and ready to crash. No grogginess in the morning, and I can wake up to alarms when on it.

    A note on Advil PM: the capsules are packaged individually, but a dose for an adult is actually TWO capsules. Once I figured that out, it was extremely effective. Hope this helps!!

  11. Well, I am trying this. I got the “warm berry” liquid flavor bottle. However, if you call taking it at 8:45pm and not falling asleep until after 12:30am, and waking up at 5:30am working, then yes, it does work. While the berry flavor does taste good, I won’t be getting another bottle.

  12. I’m one of those people it works too well for. The nights I’ve taken it, I’ve slept for 10+ hours and still woken up groggy.

  13. Definitely works for me too well, like in other posts. I just take a mini swig. Took normal dose Sun and mon nights and slept through both nights with crazy dreams. Got full 8 hrs. I fell asleep fast, but woke up a little sleepy, still, but felt good from sleep. Tried to skip tuesday night and slept terrible. Anxiety dreams and waking up constantly like usual. Took a small swig and finally got some rest. Took a small swig just now, and I’ll see how I feel in the morning.

  14. Save your money. ZzzQuil is just really expensive diphenhydramine. It’s the exact same stuff as regular Benedryl, which is sold in generic form as both allergy pills & sleep aid. The allergy pills are red, the sleep aid pills are blue. But it the EXACT same stuff. All you’re doing when you buy ZzzQuil is paying for a name.

  15. It works well with my hot flashes. I am not sure if I am sleeping through the flashes or if I am not having them. I like this stuff!

  16. diphenhydramine is the active ingredient. dimenhydrinate is the active in Gravol.
    Gravol works very well,and not day after grogginess. MUCH CHEAPER.

  17. Wal-Mart Equate house brand has 2 packs of 32 count 50mg diphenhydramine liquid caps for $3.96… 1 pill a dose. Works like a charm.

  18. The bottle says sleep aid and yes it does aid. I was not having trouble falling asleep, i was having trouble staying asleep. I am only on day 5 of using this product, but it does work well for me.

  19. My problem is staying asleep. Took Walgreen’s version of this and did not wake up once until dawn. No hangover at all. It didn’t make me get that sleepy feeling that other products do, but once asleep I did not wake up so that is great for me. Once I wake up in the night, I am awake for the rest of the night.

  20. If this does work for you, just get diphenhydramine caps and use those. It’s much cheaper. You should be aware of what the active ingredients are in all OTC meds you use. I cold / allergy meds, there are often ingredients that you don’t want or need. You’re better off to dose them individually. If you’re not sure, ask the pharmacist.

  21. I tried ZzzQuil several times and it DOES NOT WORK. I’m going back to generic Benadryl or generic NyQuil. Whatever they did to it, it does not work as the dosage of the med implies.

  22. I am a merchandiser for Proctor & Gamble, the company which distributes all ‘NyQuil’ products. ZzzQuil was their #1 priority product for last year. It ended up being one of the most frequently stolen as well!! The purple color was no accident. Definitely capitolizing on the infamous ‘Purple Drank’/’Syrup’/’Lean’/’Sizzz-urp’, etc, etc (Prescription Codeine/Promethazine cough syrup)… I can just see broke teenagers mixing this stuff with Sprite after school.

    The main ingredient IS generic Benydrl in the same dosage. You’re better off smoking a joint and having another neat scotch. Or making friends with a doctor to get real ‘Lean’.

    1. Seriously? Your name is really Ian Fleming? Or are you just pulling my leg.
      Do you take your Nyquil shaken, not stirred? Sorry, I’m a big James Bond fan and couldn’t resist.

  23. I found this article to be informative and entertaining. I myself have odd work hours with on and off days so I am trying Zzzquil pill version currently and will see how it works. Thanks of the awesome review getting sleepy.

  24. For some reason the pills work for me within an hour, but the liquid form was not effective. I had to google how long it takes for the zzzquil liquid to work, which led me to this review. Oh well. Guess I’ll go work out to tire myself into some au naturale zzzs.

  25. Just to let you know Zzzquil IS NOT the same as NyQuil. They have two different active ingredients. ZZzquil is made with diphenhydramine (otherwise known as Benedryl).

    NyQuil uses Doxylamine succinate. Any “sleep aid” should be checked. Even Unisom who used to use Doxylamine completely is starting to use diphenhydramine in some formulations (I’m guessing its cheaper, however, it doesn’t work nearly as well).

    If you want the NyQuil without the cold medicine try Unisom Sleeptabs. (Has to be TABS. Not melts, sleep gels, sleep caps, etc. TABS). NyQuil has 12.5 Doxylamine in a dose but the unisom has 25 mg in a single pill. I cut it in half and it works like a charm.

    Hope this helps explains things a bit and remember check the back and look at the active ingredient. Don’t get suckered into paying for overpriced Benedryl .

  26. It’s not the meth addicts. That was a very stupid statement. However you can teenagers for that problem. It’s the kids that were abusing it. If a meth user was to use this is would probably be to sleep off the comedown or withdraw effects.

    Anyways I have tried this product and love it 🙂

  27. For me, ZzzQuil doesn’t work well as a sleeping medication, but more as just a relaxing medication. When I took the pills, the didn’t make me fall asleep, but they did make me chill out. If you want to fall asleep quick, use something else, but if you just want to relax and watch a movie or something, this is a good choice.

    1. In large numbers of people most drugs will have a common effect. However, some it will act outside normal.. ZzzQuil works perfect on me.. I am out in 10 minutes and wake up feeling great.. amazing for me.. I use to use Nyquil once in a while when I couldn’t sleep.. it also knocked me out but I woke up feeling hung over.. This zzzquil works perfect.

  28. i actually agree it is not very effective. standard nyquil is better effective but you shouldn’t be taking it regularly as it has other ingredients which your body does not need.

    I think there is a strong need in the market for an effective OTC sleep aid.

  29. Not very effective at all. Big thumbs down. Waste of money even with a coupon. generic Wal-Mart or Grocery Store Benadryl does more. And I was hoping that this would be better since Benadryl was losing it’s touch lately. I am taking Ambien now as I cannot sleep due to high dose Prednisone and Humira use.

    Also, take note this does contain alcohol and high fructose corn syrup. I didn’t realize til I took it and was looking at the label. I figured incorrectly that since it wasn’t cold medicine it wouldn’t have that i it. I should have looked before I bought it. Ooops. I am borderline diabetic and stuff like this shoots my sugars up a little especially while taking steroids. So something good for others with sugar issues to look at before using.

  30. It has diphenhydramine HCl has the active ingredient.. the SAME ingredient as Benadryl. So it is the same exact stuff, marked up for dummies.

  31. I tried it last night, It didn’t work much. It still take quite a long time for me to fall asleep, more than an hour,..and i still wake up in the middle of the night.
    Again, in the morning, I feel restless,,not fresh at all. I’ll try again, but if it fails for the second, it really doesn’t work.

  32. I tried it last night… it relaxed me a lot until I fall a sleep. The problem is that it is 11 am now and I feel so tired, I can’t get up. I am going to try again tonight, I hope it works. I do HATE the fact it has artificial color, HCL, sugar and alcohol, I am going to be looking for a more natural formula out there.

  33. Lots of variation in reaction to ZzzzQuil. I will NEVER touch it again as I had the worst nightmare of my entire life the 1 time I took it as directed. I haven’t had a nightmare since I was a lot younger….A girl I know said her boyfriend also had a terrible nightmare and will never touch again.
    Husband likes it as he works nights and says it keeps him asleep all day. I hate just seeing it in the medicine cabinet as it reminds me of the horrible nightmare.
    Ever tried a potato chip on soft white bread sandwich???? Yummmmy, but oh so bad for ya.

  34. It worked for me. Although let me say first that I am pretty sensitive to medication. About an hour after I took it I began to feel groggy. It was hard to force myself to stay awake at that point. I have taken it about four times now, each with the same successful result. This medicine is perfect for those nights when you can’t wind down to sleep. Also, I think size/weight should be taken into account. I am a small female, so if you are a larger male I’d recommend 1 1/2 – 2 doses. That’s how much it took for my larger and taller boyfriend to feel the effects.

    1. I think you’re just lucky Kate. I’m a small female (4’11”) and 2 full doses in, I don’t feel a thing. This is pretty much a WASTE of money for me.

      1. That sucks, I’m sorry. 🙁 I will say that I agree with one of the posters above me, it’s more of a muscle relaxant than a sleep aid. I am generally pretty tired when I take it, and I usually can’t force myself to sleep since I get so distracted, but this seals the deal for me each time. Hope you all can find something that works for you, too!

  35. Took this 2 hrs ago and i am still wide awake. Insomnia sucks. I am so exhausted in my body but not sleepy. Dissapointed.

  36. I took it months ago and it worked off and on. I have to agree it gave me crazy nightmares. But I get them anyway, the difference was I couldn’t wake up from them. Like stuck in a dream about having too much gum in my mouth. Then I spend all night choking and pulling gobs out to no success.
    I’m on it now and can feel it kicking in as I type…
    Anyone out there like me who can’t sleep or has bad dreams, Sorry, I feel you. I’m always jealous of my wife who just goes right to bed. So jealous. What must that be like? How do you get all the questions and voices to stop playing out things that happened or you want to happen for hours?? I’ll never know…

    1. I strongly urge people to make the right decision to ask their doctors for Seroquel. Its commonly used for those having a hard time to sleep and/or having insomia. Low dose of two 50mg a night does the trick. Its very sedative. I’ve been on it past a year now. It takes about an hour to kick in. I also started on Xanax recently and now take 2mg bar with the Seroquel to boost the time to sleep quicker and definitely sleep much better. Talk to your doctors about those options. Experienced user here. Started on Seroquel then added Xanax to work together. Do not buy the OTC sleep meds, cuz they are solely gimmicks.

  37. I absolutely love this Zzzquil stuff, I have been trying to stop all alcohol consumption for several months now, but, when I needed to unwind and get some rest I would resort to multiple beers to overcome my hypertension.
    With Zzzquil, I can sleep for 7-8 hours, wake up ready to go back to work feeling fresh and replenished.
    A good diet and proper rest with the aid Zzzquil, I’m back in balance.
    Thank You Vicks for a great product…..!

  38. Taking an ambien after drinking a couple beers always did the trick for me… maybe take a klonopin if I really need the sleep. This stuff doesn’t do much

  39. I have been taking ZzzQuil over the last 2-3 Months and foumd that it will assistance me in relaxing and eventually falling aspeep. However, I will soon look for the generic alternative because ZzzQuil is quite expensive.

  40. That was a funny blog. Thanks for making me laugh. I have tried
    it before and I agree that it doesn’t work.

    Are you a writer? If not, write a book. Many would buy. 🙂

  41. I used zzzquil last night and it worked perfect. I usually cannot sleep and stay up til about 4 am. I am starting a new job so I knew I had to get in the habit of going to bed early so I took it around 11:00 pm took a shower got in bed put my tv on a timer started feeling relaxed closed my eyes and I went to sleep. I woke up at 7:30 this morning and felt great.

  42. Zzzquil sucks and does not work! took 2 Doses since 3Pm, and it is now 2am. no sleep, and im not an insomniac. nyquil knocks me out, zzzquil is a horrible excuse for nyquil lovers, & cost more!

  43. zzzquil actually does the opposite for me.
    If i take zzzquil and try to go to bed immediately, its nearly impossible for me to fall asleep and i toss and turn for hours. honestly, zzzquil really doesn’t work for me. I think its because of the lower dosage of diphenhydramine HCl and the rate of metabolization or something…

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