ZzzQuil Pure Zzzs Melatonin + Botanicals Sleep Aid Review

zzzquil pure zzzs sleep aid

For the past week, I’ve been testing ZzzQuil Pure Zzzs – one of several over the counter sleep aids made by Vicks.

The active ingredients are melatonin, valerian, chamomile, lemon balm, and lavender.

It’s important to note that this version is different from ZzzQuil Nighttime, which contains an antihistamine instead.

The short summary is that they seemed to work well for me, as has been my experience with melatonin in the past. It’s always tricky to be sure if it’s the sleep aid working or the placebo effect, but I do feel I slept better when taking them.

As for criticisms, for me the main issue was the sugar content – 5 grams per dosage.

In this review, I’ll talk about my experience trying ZzzQuil Pure Zzzs. And I’ll also take a closer look at the ingredients and safety advice if you plan on using them too.

My experience

Dosage and high sugar content

The instructions tell you to take one to two gummies 30 minutes before bedtime. I took two, immediately noting that they both taste good and are very sugary.

Each gummy has 2.5 grams of added sugars, so five grams in a full dosage. I’m not a fan of adding sugar to sleep aids – not only does it make you want to brush your teeth again if you already did, but I think it makes them too appealing to children.

On the plus side, the melatonin content is 2 mg, which although still higher than some sleep experts would recommend, is more reasonable than the huge 10 mg dose that some sleep aids have. And there’s also the 100 mg blend of botanicals (see ingredients below).

First night

After taking them, I read in bed for a while. I do feel I was a bit drowsy after around 40 minutes, though I was tired anyway so I can’t be sure it was the Pure Zzzs.

I slept for 7.5 hours in total that night and had no significant wakings. And that’s a good night’s sleep for me considering how often I sleep for less than seven hours.

No side effects so far

As far as I could tell, I had no side effects that night. No vivid dreams (a possibility with the ingredients of melatonin and valerian).

I had no fuzzy head in the morning either, as is often the case with prescription sleep aids and many common over the counter antihistamine sleep aids.

Three more nights testing

I took the same dosage around the same time for the next three nights. And again, I slept reasonably well each night, with no side effects.

Waking with a headache after night 5

On night five, I slept well but woke up with an unpleasant headache. I did work out hard in the gym in the evening, so there’s a chance I was a little dehydrated during the night.

But I don’t usually get that kind of headache though, so I suspect the ZzzQuil Pure Zzzs had something to do with it.

A milder effect, but no side effects on nights 6 and 7

After my headache during night five, I wondered if it was the beginning of ongoing side effects. This sometimes happens with sleep aids; you’re fine for a couple of nights, but then side effects creep in and start to build over time.

However, I had no repeat of the headache or any other side effects. So either it was a one-off or perhaps down to my gym session.

In terms of my sleep, I did wake up a little more often than the previous nights, and my total sleep started to drop down again. Whether I was building a tolerance to them or there was another explanation is impossible to say.

My conclusion

I took ZzzQuil Pure Zzzs every night for seven nights and slept well for the first five. The effect lessened towards the end of the week, but it’s not clear why this was.

There was only one night with any side effects – a headache – which is better than many other sleep aids. They often leave you with a fuzzy head in the morning (and sometimes all day), so it was good to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day.

I don’t like the sugar content though, and would personally avoid them in the future purely based on that point. And if you have children in the house, I would keep these well out their reach as they look, smell and taste exactly like sweets.

The role of the placebo effect

I have to admit, I’ve tried melatonin sleep aids before, and have had good results from them. So I’m aware that my positive expectation – i.e. placebo effect – may play a role when I test a new one. I’ve also found that the herbal ingredients valerian and chamomile have a mild sedative effect for me.

And since I’m not wired up in a sleep lab when I test a sleep aid, and rely on sleep tracker data and my observations, the outcome is a subjective review.

So please bear in mind that you might not have the same experience as me if you decide to try them.

What others say about them

At the time of writing, ZzzQuil Pure Zzzs are sold on Amazon, with more than 1000 customer reviews. It has 4.5 out of 5 stars, and although most give it 5 stars, there are still many who give it just 1 or 2.

Those who give it 4 or 5 generally say it just helped them sleep, with some also mentioning vivid dreams.

Those who give it 1 or 2 stars tend to say it didn’t work at all for them, or that they had bad dreams. And there are some who also complain about the high sugar content and taste.

Additional information


zzzquil pure zzzs ingredients label

Active ingredients per 2 gummy serving

  • Melatonin 2 mg
  • 100 mg blend of chamomile flower extract, lemon balm leaf extract, valerian root extract, lavender flower extract

Inactive ingredients

  • Sucrose
  • Corn syrup
  • Water
  • Hydrogenated coconut oil
  • Pectin
  • Natural flavors
  • Maltodextrin
  • Sodium potassium tartrate
  • Citric acid
  • Soy lecithin
  • Sodium citrate
  • Malic acid
  • Sodium polyphosphate
  • Red 40
  • Blue 1

If you search for www.zzzquil.com, they have a smart label for their ZzzQuil products, with brief notes about what each ingredient does.

Precautions – who should seek advice before using

According to the manufacturer, if any of the following apply, you should consult a healthcare professional before using:

  • Those under 18 years old
  • If you have long-term sleep problems (for more than two weeks is standard advice)
  • If you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or nursing
  • Those with a medical condition, taking medication or with a chronic condition (it doesn’t specify which ones, so it’s a good idea to check first no matter what the condition is)
  • If you take any other sedatives, tranquilizers or sleep aids
  • Don’t drive or operate machinery when you take melatonin
  • Don’t mix with alcohol.

In addition, if you’re allergic to Ragweed, I would consult a doctor if you haven’t taken chamomile before as chamomile might give you allergy symptoms.

Possible side effects

The bottle I bought had no warnings of possible side effects. I also couldn’t find any on the Vicks website, or any online stores where it’s sold.

So, my advice would be to check authority medical websites for the possible side effects of the active ingredients. Good sites to check include:

  • Healthline.com
  • Mayoclinic.org
  • Drugs.com
  • Webmd.com

Most people are thought to tolerate melatonin well, with only mild side effects if any. The main potential side effects that come up in studies include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Have you tried ZzzQuil Pure Zzzs?

Let me know in the comments what your experience was this sleep aid. Did it work for you? Did you have any side effects?


  1. I take 2 gummies every night but they for some reason cause me to be up peeing all night. I sleep well when I sleep but I have tried everything else and I know the excess of peeing may be from the Chamomile in these. I might try something else.

    • Hi Paula
      If you stop taking them for a few days and compare the bathroom trips, then you’ll be able to see if something else could be causing it too.

  2. Well, it’s 2am. I’ve taken them for about 3 weeks. They work somewhat but the dreams – wow! Anyway, the last 4 nights are what drive me to read this review. I’ve felt fine all day. After taking the recommended dose of 2 gummies I start to feel rotten. Just a systemic hurt. Flu-like, but not as bad. I hurt so bad I don’t sleep until about 4 am or so. Headache and just an all-over hurt. I’m looking at the bottle of gummies now and wondering if they aren’t the cause. What’s interesting is around 3:30 or so it’s like a light switch and I feel fine. Sleep pretty good after that with some crazy dreams. And I mean wake up gasping in panic kind of crazy dreams.

    • Hi there
      That doesn’t sound good at all. I recommend not taking any more, but speaking to your doctor about your experience and showing them the bottle you have to see what they think.

  3. I have been taking them for 9 nights and even though I still wake up to go to the bathroom every 2 hrs, which is a problem of mine anyway, I have been able to go back to sleep. It works for me because I usually toss and turn for a couple of hrs normally, and now I’m not. I have been concerned very much about the ingredients of corn syrup and hydrogenated coconut oil etc on our organs and other health risks since I’m over 65. I may have to do more research. Thank you.

    • Hi Diana
      Thanks for sharing your experience – it was interesting to hear that the ZzzQuil might be helping you fall asleep again, even though you still wake up. If you’re worried about the ingredients and your health, I’d take them along to a doctor’s visit and get their advice, or talk to a pharmacist if you bought them in a pharmacy or see them being sold in one that you visit.

  4. I have been taking them, two a night for a year or so. I recently have been having my head get really hot! Went to ENT, thought I had a sinus infection, took antibiotics but didn’t seem to help. I’m wondering if it isn’t these gummies. I didn’t take them tonight and will find out if this is the cause. My whole head gets hot, no fever, just hot! Any ideas?

  5. Horrible experience. Tried the gummy for a few days and every time lost my balance, lots of tossing and turning in bed, and after four days increased my heart rate. Also, too much sugar!!

  6. I just discovered this product 2 weeks ago, and I LOVE it!! I have had severe insomnia the past 6 months. This stuff kicks it to the curb! Where as it used to take 3 to 4 hours to fall asleep, I’m now sleeping within an hour. Excellent sleep quality, no waking up, and no grogginess. What a difference a good night’s sleep makes.

    • Hi Sarah
      Thanks for your comment, and for sharing your experience. I’m glad to hear you’ve found something that works so well for you.

  7. I have tried the gummys and the liquid. Both don’t work for me. I don’t know why. I have a high tolerance to any kind of medication that is supposed to put you to sleep or help you sleep. I don’t take them often only when I have a few sleepless nights in a row. Even when I went into surgery one time they had to give me double doses because the single dose did nothing. I don’t like taking anything to help me sleep but some nights I need it.

    • Hi Beth
      Thanks for sharing your experience. Not everyone will have good results with each different sleep aid, so you either have to try a different one, or in some cases maybe accept that over the counter options just might not be what you need to help you sleep better.

  8. The liquid version of this melatonin is the best because you can take just 0.5 mg. I find that works the BEST! I get 6-8 hours with that dose. Then if I wake and need another 3 hours, I can redose and go back to sleep in less than 30 min. Some nights I get 9-12 hours (total with the second dose). So get the 8 oz bottle of liquid. And have a nice night sleep (for a change). PS. It isn’t just me, my doctor said that doses of 5 mg and above (taken all at once) of melatonin actually CAUSE you to awake before you want to. So the smaller the dose, the longer the sleep (go figure).

    • Hi Katherine
      Thanks for sharing your experience. It does seem like the ideal dosage of melatonin is still widely debated. But I have seen many sources recommend taking lower doses than you can find in stores or online. Did your doctor suggest taking more after several hours of sleep though? This isn’t usually recommended with sleep aids, as far as I’m aware.

  9. Is it okay to take 2 of the Pure Zzzs extended release pills? Tried just one the first time with no results but thought perhaps 2 would help.

  10. I took the pill form for 4 days and didn’t realize what I was taking. I am highly allergic to ragweed and I didn’t know that chamomile was part of that family. On the 5th day I started getting a rash/hives. I am now covered from head to calf with it and it is super itchy. Doc gave me a steroid shot and more steroids and a blocker to take along with benadryl. Will not use this again due to this. Be sure to read labels if you are allergy-prone.

    • Hi Erin
      Thanks for sharing your experience, and I’m sorry to hear you had this experience. I have updated the article to add a warning to people who suffer from ragweed allergies.

  11. My dreams are Horrible. More nightmares than anything, Ive seen everything from flash backs to watching my dad slowly pass which was real, to seeing a friend get smashed from a tall building. I didn’t want to actually type out the exact dreams because they just sound so insane but these are constant. Mainly dreams about my dad passing. Anyone else having these issues?

  12. I took the pill form for 5 days, the first couple nights were good ( although it took me 2 hours to fall asleep)… but the last few days I would wake up after 4 hours and couldn’t go back to sleep. Very vivid dreams as well ( but not bad ones). Also- I’ve had this nagging headache the whole time. I didn’t even think to associate it with me trying those pills. I figured it was all natural so didn’t even think it could have side effects. I didn’t take it last night- I hope this headache goes away today! I don’t really ever get headaches like this – so I’m assuming that must be why.

    • Hi Christine
      It sounds like it could be an explanation for the headaches. Hopefully, they will stop and you’ll know that this isn’t the sleep aid for you. If they continue and it wasn’t the sleep aid, I hope you get to the bottom of it.

  13. I work night shift. Have trouble sleeping in the morning when I get off. I take one gummy and I sleep right away for about 4 hours. Wake up refreshed with no side effects. On my days off I have trouble sleeping at night. I take 2 gummies 30 min before and I sleep well. I love this product.

    • Hi Imelda
      Thanks for sharing your experience, it’s helpful to hear from readers rather than just me!

  14. I’m curious why they need to be sugar coated? It seems that’s a common complaint and they would probably taste just as fine without.

    • Hi AC
      Good question! Many sleep aids add some sugar coating in one form or another. Sometimes it’s to hide an unpleasant taste like valeria. But my cynical side suspects it may sometimes be a technique to associate it with a pleasant taste so people are happy to buy more…

    • Hi
      That’s probably the valerian. It’s even worse in pills that only have valerian and no sugar coating!

      • I sleep fine. But I wake up from snoring from my spouse. I took this , just one gummy. I get solid blackout sleep. A little groggy in the morning, but coffee clears it up. Three days so far. Maybe hospital can use this instead of melatonin.

  15. I have tried them because I was having problems with my sleep again so my husband went to buy me these gummies and they worked for me. But I do have a concern about if I keep taking them for a long time.

    • Hi Sabrina
      Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m glad they helped you sleep. But you are right to keep in mind that sleep aids are usually not advised for the long-term. Having said that, I personally find I can take melatonin for a couple of weeks in a row with no problem. I just wouldn’t take them every night for months on end unless your doc. recommends it.

  16. I gave 1mg to my child who is 8. Is that an issue? I see that there is a kids version as well. The only difference in ingredients is the 100mg of Pure Zzz blend instead of the 30mg in the kids dose.

    • Hi Mel
      I would always speak to a medical professional if you’re unsure about whether it’s ok to give any sleep aid to a child or not. It’s not really my place to give advice about specific situations like yours. Sorry!

  17. Tried the gummies for the past two nights, both nights had intense vivid dreams. Not going to continue using them.

    • Hi Emily
      Thanks for sharing your experience. Vivid dreams can be a side effect of melatonin for some people, so perhaps these just aren’t right for you.

  18. I haven’t tried the gummies however I tried the pill version and honestly didn’t get any effects at all? You think the pills are the same as the gummies as far as strength or distribution? thank you

      • My experience seems different from others. One tablet caused some vivid dreams, but nothing concerning; I slept fairly well for about 7 hrs. However, upon arising I was dizzy, unsteady when walking, and slightly nauseous. This lasted about 30 minutes. General grogginess and a dry mouth took somewhat longer to resolve. Such side effects may be rare, as I don’t find them written about online. By the way, the manufacturer’s term drug-free is quite misleading. Plants and drugs aren’t mutually exclusive. Aspirin, taxol, and many other important drugs were derived from drugs. Thank you for hosting this informative site, Mr Green.

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