Tylenol is a quick recourse to a throbbing headache or an aching body part. And while it gives effective relief, some claim to experience certain side effects like tiredness or sleepiness after taking them. But does Tylenol make you tired?

What Does Tylenol Do? 

Tylenol (acetaminophen) is an over-the-counter medication commonly used to treat mild to severe body pain or reduce fever by helping the body eliminate excess heat. Other conditions remedied by Tylenol include headache, muscle aches, arthritis, backache, toothache, sore throat, colds, and the flu.

Tylenol belongs to groups of medications called analgesics (painkillers) and antipyretics (fever reducers), which are specially designed to selectively relieve pain without blocking nerve impulses’ conduction, markedly altering sensory perception, and without directly relieving the underlying cause. 

Acetaminophen is typically used orally (both in tablet and liquid form) but is sometimes given intravenously. As an ingredient, acetaminophen is present in many popular combination medications sold over-the-counter such as Alka-Seltzer Plus liquid gels, Coridicin, Dayquil, Excedrin, Nyquil, Phenaphen, Robitussin Singlet, Sinutab, Vicks, and Zydone.

According to new research from the University of British Columbia, Tylenol can be beneficial to people who deal with existential dread, specifically, the anxiety that comes from thinking about death. Through its effects in relieving headaches, the medication might also relieve people of plaguing thoughts about dying. 

Does Tylenol Make You Tired & Sleepy?

Does Tylenol make you sleepy? – In a way, it does, but not directly.

Here’s how it works…

How Does Tylenol Work?

Analgesics, or any opioid-containing medicine, will induce drowsiness (depending on the dose) because they also depress our central nervous system and slow down brain activity, which makes people feel tired and sleepy after taking them. Although acetaminophen, per se, does not directly cause the side effects mentioned above, t relieves the pain that has stressed your body, which in turn, makes the body feel relaxed enough to rest and sleep. 

Sometimes acetaminophen comes in formulations with other active ingredients that do cause drowsiness. Tylenol PM, for example, is a combination of acetaminophen and diphenhydramine that can cause drowsiness (given that diphenhydramine is an antihistamine, which does cause the side effects). The drowsiness is more likely to happen or be more intense among people who drink alcohol (while simultaneously taking Tylenol PM), take other medications that cause drowsiness (e.g., opioids, benzodiazepines, sleep medications, and other antihistamines), and those who are aged 65 years and above. 

When taking Tylenol or similar medications that may cause such effects, it’s best to avoid activities that require you to be alert, such as driving a car or operating heavy machinery to avoid possible accidents.

Other Side Effects

This drug usually has no side effects, but it might cause a few occasional side effects. The most common ones are: 

  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Jaundice

The following allergic reactions have been attributed to Tylenol use but rarely occur:

  • Itching and swelling in the face/tongue/throat
  • Severe dizziness,
  • Breathing problems 

Historically, excessive Tylenol intake can put a person at risk for liver damage, so it should be taken as prescribed by doctors.

Psychological Side Effects?

Others have attributed adverse behavioral changes to using Tylenol. One report found that acetaminophen intake can cause behavioral changes that make people angry, restless, feel less empathy for strangers, and even manipulate fundamental aspects of their personalities. For the most part, these changes are extremely subtle, while in some, they can also be severe. 

The same report states that a number of people have claimed to have done impulsive actions and even criminal acts due to the medication influencing them.

Any side effects, physical or psychological, should be immediately reported to your trusted medical professional. 

Interactions

Here are some of the drugs/medications known to interact with Tylenol

Best Time To Take Tylenol

The standard recommended dosing interval for adults is to take 2 pills every 6 hours. It’s advisable not to exceed 6 tablets in 24 hours unless directed by a doctor. Children aged 6-11 years should take 1 caplet every 4 to 6 hours while symptoms last, without exceeding more than 5 caplets in 24 hours.

If you take this medication regularly and miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at a regular time. Avoid doubling the dose to catch up.

Once done, store your Tylenol medication at room temperature, away from light and heat, and keep them out of children’s reach. Like ibuprofen, acetaminophen should be used within 4 to 5 years of opening, while its liquid forms should be used before the indicated expiration date.

Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed. Properly dispose of this medication when it is expired or no longer needed.

Some liquid or tablet forms of Tylenol may contain sugars/aspartame, which might not be beneficial to those with diabetes and other similar conditions.

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Takeaway

Tylenol is a powerful analgesic and antipyretic which effectively relieves body pain and reduces fevers. Despite its efficacy, it may cause certain side effects among some people, and when combined with other drugs or medications, can cause one to feel sleepy or tired. 

Before taking acetaminophen, tell your doctor or pharmacist about your medical history like pre-existing medical conditions or if you have any allergies. This medication may contain inactive ingredients, triggering allergic reactions or other health problems. 

If you’re experiencing continuous or serious side effects due to tylenol use, seek immediate medical care. 

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

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