Bedtime Benadryl 

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Seems like it happens to me 2 to 3 times a year. I’m in bed, desperately wanting to knock off, but my brain is in hyperdrive and I can’t shut it down. A few hours pass, I’m wide awake the whole time, monitoring the clock (always a bad idea when you’re trying to sleep), realizing that before too long any opportunity for meaningful sleep will be lost. 

Somewhere along the line I realize that I still have time to save the night with a hit of Benadryl. That’s right, good old Diphenhydramine HCL, the active ingredient found in Benadryl and other assorted, generic substitutes. And I always keep a bottle of the stuff around, just in case.

Timing is Everything 

Here’s how it works. I know from experience the full recommended dosage for adults will enable me to doze off within about 30 to 45 minutes. I also know that after about 3 hours, the effects of that dosage will have just about worn off. 

So… if I take the hit at 3:30, I can get up as early as 6:30 with about 2.5 hours of reasonably deep sleep, while feeling pretty much free of the Benadryl-effect. And if my schedule allows me to set my alarm clock for a later hour; all the better. I’ll probably just keep on sleeping right through.

Living the Dream

What is Benadryl sleep like? As mentioned earlier; it’s reasonably deep. It also comes with intense, vivid dreams. And those dreams tend to be a little on the crazy side. Nothing too outrageous, they’re usually kind of fun, they tend to be easy to recollect (at least when I first wake up), and they seem very focused, like I’m really living them out. 

Sounds pretty good: Right? But here’s the downside. No matter how deep the sleep, and no matter how vivid the dreams, an hour of Benadryl-sleep is never quite as restful as an hour of the real thing. On those rough nights, if I’m lucky enough to conk out on my own, I’ll always wake up feeling better than I would have after a hit of Diphenhydramine HCL.

Talk to your Doctor!

Now don’t take this the wrong way. Just because I’ll take an occasional hit of Diphenhydramine HCL to force a late-night date with the Sandman; that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, and it doesn’t mean that I’m recommending it. In fact, we strongly recommend that you seek medical advice before embarking on any kind of chemically induced, nocturnal decommission. That said, for the 2 to 3 times a year when I’m desperate, I’m always comforted to know there’s a bottle of Benadryl at the ready.