Nytol One-A-Night Review: The Knock-Out & Morning Fuzziness

Nytol One A Night box and packet

I recently tried Nytol One-A-Night, which is a popular anti-histamine over the counter sleeping pill.

I also tested Nytol Herbal not long ago, so I’ll be comparing the effectiveness of both in this review.

I took the herbal version for 3 nights, and then had a week without using any sleep aids. Following that, I took one 50 mg tablet of the One-A-Night on 4 consecutive days.

I know from experience that anti-histamine sleeping pills work well for me, so there was more of a chance of a placebo effect. But I’ll try to give as unbiased an account as possible.


The Nytol knockout

Compared to the herbal version, I was expecting a more powerful sedative effect. That is what happened, just not exactly how I imagined.

The instructions say to take it 20 minutes before bed. I did that on the first night, and then stayed awake reading for around 40 minutes. I was curious to see if I could detect any sedation.

There was still no noticeable effect an hour later, so I switched the light off anyway. I believe I then fell asleep within 5 to 10 minutes, and woke up 9 hours later!

I didn’t wake up once during the night, which is unusual for me, and overslept the alarm by one hour. So it appeared the Nytol had done its job.


Feeling the effects in the morning

In the morning, I felt quite refreshed – both mentally and physically. But I also woke up with a bit of a fuzzy head and could feel light pressure on my forehead, just above my eyes.

Those sensations slowly faded on their own, but took a couple of hours to completely disappear. So although the Nytol seemed to give me a good night’s sleep, it didn’t quite leave me feeling 100% the next morning.

I was still able to go about my day and work, but those symptoms were a little annoying.


The following nights

On the second night, I tried exactly the same routine. Once again there was the same effect of not feeling drowsy, but still falling asleep quickly. And I again woke up after a totally blanked out night, with the same fuzzy head.

On the third night, I don’t think the sedative effect was quite as strong. The manufacturer does say you can develop a tolerance to Nytol, but night 3 seemed a little early.

I woke up a couple of times in the night this time, but admittedly still slept pretty well. The next morning symptoms were similar though.

I tried it one more time, and again didn’t have a repeat of the first or second night’s total knockout, but still slept quite well.

By this point, I’d had enough of the groggy feeling, was content with a couple of good night’s sleep, and didn’t take them again.

Would I take Nytol One-A-Night again?

The Nytol clearly worked well for me, and I appreciated sleeping right through the night. But the persistent fuzzy head the next day was an issue.

On balance, I probably would consider taking it again but only as a one-off.


How it compares with the herbal type

The first thing to note is that these pills don’t smell or taste as bad as the valerian-based herbal ones, so that’s a plus.

They are considerably stronger in effect than the herbal pills too. Strangely though, I did feel a sedative effect with the others while still awake, which I didn’t with the One-A-Night.

I didn’t feel any effects the next day with the herbal pills though. So they both have their pros and cons.

Please remember that this was just my experience with the two types. It could be completely different for you, and as you’ll see in the comments below, people react differently to them.


Further information

Nytol ingredients

nytol 50 mg pill on a table

From the instruction leaflet, the ingredients are:

  • Diphenhydramine hydrochloride 50mg (the anti-histamine which makes you sleepy)
  • Anhydrous lactose
  • Microcrystalline cellulose
  • Maize starch
  • Stearic acid
  • Silicon dioxide.

Who shouldn’t take it?

If any of the following conditions or situations apply to you, the manufacturer advises against taking it, or consulting a doctor first:

  • Children under the age of 16.
  • If you’re allergic to any of the ingredients.
  • If you have: a stomach or gut obstruction, such as an ulcer.
  • Asthma, bronchitis or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
  • Narrow-angle glaucoma.
  • Enlarged prostrate or urinary retention.
  • Moderate or severe liver disease.
  • Myasthenia gravis, epilepsy or seizure disorders.
  • You shouldn’t drive or operate heavy machinery.
  • You shouldn’t drink alcohol.
  • Intolerance to lactose or some sugars.
  • If you’re taking other medication, talk to a doctor first. Especially anti-depressants, atropine, other anti-histamines or any that cause drowsiness.
  • If you’re pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • If your sleep problem lasts longer than 2 weeks, or you need a higher dose of Nytol to fall asleep.

Possible side effects

The leaflet describes the following possible side effects, though most are very rare:

  • Tiredness
  • Drowsiness
  • Reduced attention
  • Unsteadiness
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Allergic reactions (like a rash, shortness of breath or swelling)
  • Blurred vision
  • Palpitations or irregular heartbeat
  • Muscle twitching
  • Convulsions
  • Headaches
  • Pins and needles
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Thicker bronchial mucus
  • Difficulty urinating

Remember if you notice any of the above, or any others,  stop taking the Nytol and see your doctor or a pharmacist.

Update: trying Nytol Original (25mg)

nytol original sleep aid

Nytol Original is very similar to the One-A-Night, except you take 2 x 25 mg pills instead of 1 x 50 mg.

So I was curious to see what would happen if I only took a half dosage, and if the lingering next-day effects would be less of an issue.

I tried just one pill for 3 consecutive nights and did find they were better for me. I still experienced a sedative effect – not as much as the 50 mg dosage, but enough to help me sleep a bit better.

And the headache and fuzzy head weren’t as bad in the morning, though I didn’t feel 100% clear either.

So I think this is one to consider if you’d like to start with a lower dosage, or found the higher one caused you difficulty in the morning.


Further reading

For more on the active ingredient, with warnings for who should avoid it, have a look at the NHS website page about diphenhydramine.

Medicines.org.uk has an online patient leaflet for Nytol.

As well as discussing using it with your own doctor, you can use the Nytol website contact page to ask the manufacturer questions (not a paid link).

Your experience

Have you tried Nytol One-A-Night, Nytrol Original or the herbal type?

Please leave a comment below describing your experience with them, and whether they helped you sleep better or not.

214 thoughts on “Nytol One-A-Night Review: The Knock-Out & Morning Fuzziness”

  1. Lorazepam is the answer for me. I only take 1/2 tablet at a time, one hour before bed, maybe once or twice a week. It guarantees me 8 hours sleep, and I wake up feeling refreshed with no side effects. My insomnia issue was waking up in the middle of the night, unable to get back to sleep – I rarely have trouble falling asleep. Lorazepam works either way; you gradually feel dopier and dopier after 30 or 40 minutes of taking it.
    I used to use various OTC meds with diphenhydramine hydrochloride, but they often made my body feel…weird. Like a crawly feeling in my veins. And the fuzzy head the next day. Lorazepam is prescription only, and a controlled substance here in North America. It can be addictive for those inclined to addition, but for me it’s been a lifesaver. My doc prescribes 20 pills at a time, and that tends to last me around 6 months.
    I also tried chewable gummies with CBD, the active component of cannabis which is perfectly legal here, that also helped, but they tend to be pricy unless your medical insurance covers it.

    1. Hi Cath
      Thanks for your comment. What you say makes sense to me. Personally, I prefer to avoid stronger sedatives, but it’s a topic to discuss with your prescribing physician. It’s interesting that you say CBD helped a little. I tried it several times and had no real effect on my sleep!
      Regards
      Ethan

  2. Hi Ethan. Thanks for reviewing this. As an on/off insomniac, I have mixed reviews for Nytol. I find that I feel better during the day if I don’t take Nytol even if it means I haven’t had any sleep!

    Nytol gives me this weird, confused anxious feeling that doesn’t budge all day way beyond the 8 hours after they are supposed to wear off. I would rather feel plain tired than feel like this. I took a 50mg when I woke at 1.30am this morning, (I am off work today so thought I would risk taking one) managed to get to sleep and sleep all the way through but felt very anxious on waking.

    In the past I have also had experiences with Nytol where I have taken one before bed at 10pm, still woken up in the night unable to get back to sleep, very restless, resulting in a no sleep + nytol hangover! Not pleasant!

    I think the next day side effects outweighs the sleep I might get. I’m going to throw the box away so I am not tempted with them again as I don’t think they are an option for me

    1. Hi Eloise
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, the anti-histamine based sleep aids can cause problems like this, more for some people than others. I think you’re right in that if it leaves you feeling anxious the next day, it’s not worth continuing with.
      Regards
      Ethan

  3. I take Nytol (one a night 50mg) on a regular basis. I had been taking sleeping tablets for months and just found they were to strong. The problem I have is I am now taking Nytol every night to ensure a restful sound sleep, this is all down to stress, what if any are the side effects of regular use of Nytol ?

    1. Hi Maz
      Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure how the side effects change in the long-term, but it’s generally not advised to take Diphenhydramine hydrochloride for long periods. I’d look up the side effects specific to that ingredient on sites like drugs.com or webmd to see what they currently say.
      Regards
      Ethan

  4. I don’t have a problem falling asleep but I do have trouble staying asleep beyond three or fours hours. I treat myself to half a Nytol at the week-end and it certainly helps me go back to sleep when I wake (when this happens I take advantage of popping to the loo just in case a full bladder wakes me later) and therefore I am able to sleep for longer which is a wonderful treat! I am mindful not to take them too regularly.

  5. Gareth Pitchford

    Hello, I know this is a bit late but thought I would add to it.

    Personally, I have generalized anxiety disorder, which affects my sleep sometimes for a long period of time. On top of this, I work between nights and days, swapping every two weeks by 12 hours.

    I have tried nytol, and found my tolerance builds up so fast by the third dose there is no effect. It does seem to work for the first two nights, but it also seems to exacerbate my anxiety the next day.

    Recently I have tried Sominex which has promethazine hydrochloride as the active ingredient. Now it’s safe to say this was a far more powerful sedative effect than the nytol, and less side effects the next day it seems. But the tolerance issues still persist.

    I think it is worth noting, as some comments suggest very long term use, that these are addictive and cause more issues than they solve if you habitually take them :)

    1. Hi Gareth
      Thanks for your comment. I also find tolerance builds with most of these type of over the counter sleep aids. Though really, it’s the increasing side effects as the week goes by that usually concerns me more.
      Either way, long-term use is best avoided for any sleeping pill in my opinion.
      Regards
      Ethan

  6. I started taking nytol about a year ago because I quit drinking alcohol completely. I was severely addicted, heavy alcoholic and smoking weed. Yes I quit drinking but I gained a severe addiction to nytol – I take 40 pills on a good day every night or 30-ish on others, ratio 5 – 2 (5 good to 2 bad). I just started reading these reviews and I see I’m not the only one who is hooked on this. I loathe the feeling that I am so addicted to something or another. I bought Phenergan for a change as its annoying to be refused sale by all local pharmacies. I need to know some successful quitting methods or stories without Getting Additional or Different addictions.

    1. Hi Evelina
      Thank you for sharing your story. Well done for quitting alcohol and smoking weed. I can understand your worry about taking that many Nytol though – you are taking way more than necessary, and putting yourself at risk. I would recommend getting professional help from your doctor/physician. I think they are the best person to either help you directly or refer you to an addiction specialist.
      Regards
      Ethan

      1. I could not agree more with Ethan’s suggestion.
        Maybe physical exercises will help as well as brainwork. Because those activities will burn out your energy during the day, and then help you to fall in sleep quickly in the evening.
        It is what I do, I’d like to stay in bed longer to rest my body and make my brain busy by reading and studying when I have a day off.
        Alternatively, do some housework or find some physical activities you like, sports, dance …
        Overall, personally, medication like Nytol is merely for the symptoms, not for the primary cause. Additionally, most of the meds have its own side effect. It is a risk for the long term taking.

        Warm wishes
        Lucy

  7. Hi
    Started taking Nytol one a night 50 mg. The next day felt so sleepy all day, so the next night took half the tablet 25mg. Slept well but dreamt all night, so my mind was very active all night. The next day I felt so tired all day, so could I be allergic to the Valerian? I have now stopped taking them What do you advise?

    1. Hi Jean
      Thanks for sharing. I don’t think that remembering your dreams more or being tired the next day are signs of an allergy personally. But I’d say that if your feeling is that it’s not right for you, then it’s probably a good idea to listen to it.
      Regards
      Ethan

  8. By taking nytol would my sleep get distracted if someone tries to wake me up or after having this tablet nothing would get me up

    1. Hi YK
      There’s no way to predict that. It depends on how much it affects you, how hard the person tries to wake you etc.
      Regards
      Ethan

    2. I take nytol most nights and when you wake again I find it hard to get back to sleep, but I make sure I got to bed the same time every night, take the nytol 20-30 mins before you go to sleep, the only thing I really experience is really strange dreams but I still do not wake from these, I had insomnia for the last 2 years and nytol helps me more than my prescribed sleeping tablets.

  9. I don’t know why th the pack says take 20 minutes before bed, DHP is fat Soluble so it needs to be fully digested through the liver before you’d even begin to notice any effects, this can take around 2 hours.

    I take 25 mg about 2-3 hours before bed, I sleep well and while I do feel a little groggy in the morning it’s better than if I were to take it right before bed.

    1. Hi Jelly
      Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure about the 2 hour point. I find it works much quicker than that – same as with other sleep aids with similar ingredients. But if that’s the timing that works for you, that’s all that matters really.
      Regards
      Ethan

      1. I should have said the effects peak at 2 hours, taking them minutes before bed greatly increases the morning after hangover.

        Everyone’s metabolism is different however fat soluble medication do take longer to metabolise and also stick around longer, I think if you are experiencing a morning hangover from Nytol knowing this information helps.

  10. Been taking 50mg dosage almost every night for the last 3 months due to inability to sleep, its a knock on effect of my spinal surgery. laying in bed is super uncomfortable but with nytol im able to get a proper nights sleep. literally saving my mental state! im on a number of other meds but it doesnt interact at all and i have 0 side effects. i count myself lucky!

    1. Hi Ash
      Thanks for your comment. It’s good that you found something that helps your sleep – and mental state along with it.
      I wish you a swift recovery from the surgery.
      Regards
      Ethan

  11. As a shift worker I have trouble sleeping after a week of nights, but I find the nytol one-a-night really does help me get of to sleep and stay asleep. I know it’s not advised but I find having it with a glass of whiskey really helps improve my overall sleep.

    1. Hi Davy
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, you need to be careful mixing any sleep aids with alcohol. I know it increases the drowsiness, but it also increases the risk. I’d do one or the other, but not both together.
      Regards
      Ethan

  12. Hi I’ve recently purchased a pack of Nytol one a night 50 …after reading the box it says do not take if you have an obstruction in the stomach … so thought I should not take one as I have an hernia…would this be wrong to take in my position….thank you

    1. Hi Pat
      Thanks for your comment. I’m not a doctor, so can’t advise you on this one – sorry! I’d recommend asking your personal doctor about this to get proper medical advice.
      Regards
      Ethan

  13. Been using these on and off; work brilliantly for me, didn’t want to keep on with prescription sleeping tablets so I’m glad I’ve tried these

  14. Hi Ethan
    Because i came off morphine after being on them for approx 2 months i have not been able to sleep…the morphine was making me sleep 16 to 18 hrs a day..before the morphine my sleep was pretty good .After seeing Nytol advertised on tv this last week i decided to give them a go as i had 3 nights with little sleep..my hubby got me the 25mg ones which states take two 20mins before bed but because i have sensitivity problems with a lot of medications i only took 1 at 10.30pm by 11.20 i was wide awake so i thought becaue it states take 2 i would take the other one within an hour i had restless legs + then my arms were like my legs + every half hour i had to go to the loo i did drop off to sleep about 6am + woke at 10.30am still with the restless +tickly feeling in my arms + legs, it is now 5.30 in the evening + my arms + legs are still the same Driving me crazy,How long will it take for them to stop tingling + get back to normal

    1. Hi Den
      Thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear you’ve had this reaction to the Nytol, assuming it was the cause of the physical sensations you describe. To be honest, I really don’t know how long it might last, or if it’s definitely connected. I think the best step is to speak to your doctor about it, and not take any more unless they recommend it.
      Regards
      Ethan

    1. Hi there
      Thanks for sharing your experience. These over the counter sleeping pills don’t work for everyone, but I hope you find something that does help you sleep.
      Regards
      Ethan

    1. Hi Phil
      Thanks for your comment. It doesn’t sounds like it’s a sleep aid that’s right for you in that case.
      Regards
      Ethan

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