You can take DayQuil and ZzzQuil

Gluten-free sleeping pills: 9 products to help you fall asleep - special diets - 2021

Gluten-free sleeping pills are a necessity for celiac or non-celiac gluten-free patients with insomnia. But not all over-the-counter sleeping pills you can find in pharmacies or on the internet are gluten-free. Hence, you need to choose carefully.

Gluten-free sleep aids include:

  • CVS Pharmacy Melatonin Gummies
  • Luna Melatonin and Herbal Sleep Aid
  • Solgar Liquid Melatonin
  • Sominex caplets
  • Sominex tablets
  • Aim for melatonin tablets
  • Unisom SleepTabs
  • Walgreens WalSom tablets
  • ZZZQuil Pure Melatonin Gummies

Despite the wide variety of brands and formulations you'll find down the pharmacy aisle, there are only two general types of over-the-counter sleep aids: medication-based sleep aids that rely on antihistamines, which also make you sleepy, and melatonin sleep aids, which rely on small doses of the sleep hormone Melatonin dependent.

Here is the list of the most popular sleeping pills and what their manufacturers say about their gluten-free status.

Drug-based sleep aids

If you've ever taken cold medicine at night, you've probably noticed how sleepy it makes you. These medicated sleeping pills contain the same antihistamines that are used in cold night medicine, but in different dosages.

The products use one of two antihistamines: diphenhydramine HCl or doxylamine succinate. If your preferred brand isn't considered gluten-free, you should be able to find a substitute labeled gluten-free with the same active ingredient.


Gluten free

This brand of sleep aid is offered in two formulations:

  • Tablets containing 25 mg of antihistamine diphenhydramine HCl
  • Caplets containing 50 mg of diphenhydramine HCl

Both are considered gluten-free, according to a customer service representative.

Tylenol Just sleep

No gluten ingredients

Tylenol, known for its acetaminophen products, is a sleep aid: Tylenol Simply Sleep. The over-the-counter product contains 25 mg of antihistamine diphenhydramine HCl (it does not contain Tylenol).

According to Tylenol maker McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a subsidiary of pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson, the company does not knowingly add gluten-based ingredients to Tylenol products, which include Tylenol Simply Sleep.

However, "no gluten ingredients" does not necessarily mean "gluten-free" as gluten may come from ingredients obtained elsewhere or from the production of gluten cross-contamination.


A gluten free product

Unisom offers six different sleeping aids:

  • Unisom SleepGels (Diphenhydramine HCl, 50 mg)
  • Unisom SleepTabs (Doxylamine succinate 25mg)
  • Unisom SleepMinis (Diphenhydramine HCl, 25 mg)
  • Unisom Liquid (Diphenhydramine HCl 30 mg)
  • Unisom SleepMelts (Diphenhydramine HCl, 25 mg)
  • Unisom PM Pain (Diphenhydramine HCl 50 mg plus Acetaminophen 325 mg)

According to the company, Only the Unisom SleepTabs are gluten-free. "All other products have not been tested to determine gluten content, so we cannot confirm that they are gluten-free," said a representative. Fortunately, Unisom SleepTabs are considered to be one of the best sleep aids for insomnia.

Walgreens WalSom tablets

Gluten free

Walgreens offers a variety of private label sleep aids. The only thing that is considered gluten-free are Walgreens WalSom tablets. They contain doxylamine succinate 25 mg, the same active ingredient as Unisom SleepTabs.


No gluten ingredients

Note: ZZZQuil Pure Melatonin Gummies are gluten-free (see next section on melatonin-based sleep aids).

Manufacturer Vicks (the maker of DayQuil and NyQuil, which are both gluten-free cold and flu medications) offer four different products that include 25 mg of the sleep-inducing antihistamine diphenydramine HCI:

  • ZZZQuil liqueurs
  • ZZZQuil soothing vanilla cherry liquid
  • ZZZQuil Warming berry liquid
  • ZZZQuil Soothing Mango Berry Alcohol-Free Liquid

While Vicks' DayQuil and NyQuil are gluten-free, ZzzQuil does not necessarily say safe: "We do not add ingredients that we know contain gluten. However, we cannot guarantee ZzzQuil is 100% gluten-free."

Melatonin-based sleep aids

There are far more gluten-free melatonin-based sleep aids on the market than drug-based sleep aids. The melatonin-based sleep aid products may only contain melatonin, or they may contain other ingredients that are used to relax you and help you fall asleep. Again, you should be able to find a formulation that you like that is gluten free.

When it comes to melatonin, more is not always better: some people have to experiment with their dosage to find just the right amount that will help them fall asleep, and the dosage may be less than the recommended dosage for the product.

Here is a selection of natural gluten-free sleep aids available in stores and online:

CVS Pharmacy Melatonin Gummies

The CVS pharmacy chain carries several branded products that are labeled as "gluten-free". Its strawberry-flavored melatonin gums are considered gluten-free. Each gum has 5 mg of melatonin (recommended dose is two gums). Look for the words "Wheat and Gluten Free" on the package label.


This combination of melatonin and herbal sleep aid is available in formulations for adults and children as well as in a melatonin-free version. The adult version (two capsules) includes: melatonin (6 mg), magnesium, L-theanine, valerian root, chamomile extract, passion flower extract, lemon balm extract, hop extract and GABA.

The children's version (one chewable tablet) includes: melatonin (0.2 mg), vitamin D3, lemon balm, valerian root, stevia, and chamomile flower. The melatonin-free version contains the same ingredients as the adult version, but omits the melatonin. You can find Luna online on Amazon and on the company's website.

Solgar Liquid Melatonin

Solgar, which states that most of its products are gluten-free, makes liquid melatonin with the aroma of black cherries. The product only contains melatonin (plus flavor). The recommended dosage is 5 mg or 10 mg. With the pipette in the bottle, you can precisely dose each dose and adjust your own dose to suit your needs. You can find Solgar Liquid Melatonin in large health food stores and online at Amazon and other outlets.

Target Up & Up Melatonin

Target's house brand, Up & Up, can be a good source of over-the-counter pharmaceutical products that are prominently labeled "gluten-free" on the packaging. Although Up & Up does not offer drug-based gluten-free sleep aids, Target has gluten-free melatonin tablets in a strength of 10 mg. Look for the words "gluten-free" on the packaging. Do not buy the product unless the box contains this notation.

ZZZQuil Pure Melatonin Gummies

These gums only have one flavor and are similar in size and taste to vitamin gums. A serving size of two chewing gum contains 2 mg of melatonin plus chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, and valerian root, all of which are considered calming botanical ingredients.

A word from DipHealth

It's not uncommon for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity to have difficulty sleeping, although researchers haven't yet established the cause of the problem. If you find that you are having trouble getting enough rest more than occasionally, talk to your doctor. It is possible that you need better sleep habits or you may even be testing for a sleep disorder.

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