Why You Shouldn’t Take Dramamine for Sleep

 Let’s dig into the science of Dramamine and other over-the-counter antihistamines. We’ll explore how they work, and why these medications are not the best choice for a good night’s sleep.

Why You Shouldn’t Take Dramamine for Sleep

Dramamine has been used as a sleep aid because diphenhydramine, a main component of Dramamine, causes drowsiness approximately 20 minutes after taking a dose of the anti-allergy medication. 

But interestingly, Dramamine also contains another compound that promotes alertness, so it is not a great choice for a sleep aid.  

When thinking about choosing a sleep aid, it’s best to start out with the question: “What will give me the best quality of sleep?” While the antihistamines Dramamine and Benadryl can help you fall asleep, they do not improve sleep quality.  

Beyond the fact that Dramamine is meant to treat motion sickness, not insomnia, Dramamine use can also have adverse side effects.

What is Dramamine?

Dimenhydrinate, which is commercially known as Dramamine, is an antihistamine medication used to treat motion sickness. Its intended use is to help prevent and treat nausea, vomiting, and dizziness experienced by those with motion sickness. It is not intended for use as a sleep aid even though one of the side effects of Dramamine is drowsiness. 

Dramamine and other antihistamines are commonly used as over-the-counter sleep aids because they are readily available.

While feeling sleepy may be a welcome side effect for someone with difficulties falling asleep at night, there’s no evidence that Dramamine is effective as a long-term sleep aid. 

How does Dramamine work?

Dramamine is an antihistamine that works to reduce the effects of the natural compound histamine in the body.  Histamine is a small molecule abundant in the body; its most well-known function is its role as a mediator of allergic reactions.

Dramamine is actually a combination of two active ingredients:

  1. diphenhydramine 
  2. 8-chlorotheophylline.  

Dramamine’s anti-nausea effects are thought to be a result of diphenhydramine’s blockage of histamine receptors in the vestibular system. 

The addition of the stimulant 8-chlorotheophylline was meant to counteract the sedative effects of diphenhydramine.


 Can I use Dramamine as a sleep aid?

About a third of Americans deal with insomnia each year and are looking for just about anything that they can take to get more sleep. 

Extended disruptions to our sleep cycles can be stressful and frustrating, so it’s easy to feel drawn towards seemingly simple solutions. 

At first, Dramamine may seem like it works. But over a relatively short period of time, your body will develop a tolerance to the medication. 

Also, Dramamine and other over-the-counter antihistamines, such as Benadryl, do not contribute to better-quality sleep when used as a sleep aid.


Serious adverse effects of Dramamine

  • Chest pain
  • Decreased alertness
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Agitation
  • Food changes
  •  Fast or irregular heartbeat

The bottom line is that Dramamine, while effective for motion sickness, is not meant to be a sleep aid

Researchers from the University of Colorado specifically note that “sedating antihistamines do not adequately address the problem [of improving sleep quality and length].” They also said, “the belief that nighttime sleep was aided by the addition of a sedating […] antihistamine was not supported by [a scientific study].”

People who are experiencing sleep problems should talk to a sleep specialist in order to relieve their sleep issues to get more restful, better-quality sleep.


Why remrise is formulated for restorative sleep

There is evidence that sleep patterns change as we get older. Resulting in in becoming more sensitive to over-the-counter medicines. One of the best ways to improve sleep comes from a plant-based, superfood diet.

Remrise is purely plant-based and doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients. 

  • No synthetic ingredients
  • No next-day grogginess
  • Restore healthy sleep

Remrise recovers your body’s natural sleep rhythms to immediately benefit your sleep and ultimately, your overall health and well-being. 

We take a natural and holistic approach to our products because we believe the source of authentic energy is natural sleep. With Remrise, we believe that good days start with good nights.

Feedback from our customers who have seen the positive changes by switching to remrise. 

"My traditional issue of waking up several times each night has been non existent. Once I am asleep I sleep throughout the night and wake up just before my alarm" Thomas M. 

Game changer. I wasn’t sleeping and now I am. Worked the first night. My husband and I are both obsessed!" 

Sophie A. 

Read all remrise reviews

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8-Chlorotheophylline: Comprising nearly half of the over-the-counter drug Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), 8-chlorotheophylline is a stimulant drug with effects similar to that of caffeine.

Antihistamines: A class of medications that are meant to treat allergies.  Dramamine and Benadryl are two common antihistamines. While antihistamines can produce feelings of drowsiness, they are not meant to be used as a sleep aid and can cause hyperactivity and other side effects, especially in children.

Benadryl: The trade name for the antihistamine diphenhydramine, Benadryl is an anti-allergy drug available over-the-counter.

Dimenhydrinate:  An over-the-counter antihistamine, marketed under the commercial name Dramamine, which is used to treat motion sickness.  Dimenhydrinate is a combination of two drugs – diphenhydramine and 8-chlorotheophylline.

Diphenhydramine: An antihistamine drug which is marketed as Benadryl, and combined with 8-Chlorotheophylline to be sold as Dramamine.  Diphenhydramine can cause feelings of drowsiness, but should not be relied upon as a sleep aid as there is no evidence that this substance can promote better-quality sleep.

Dramamine: An over-the-counter antihistamine medication that is used to prevent and treat motion sickness.  While people may take Dramamine as a sleep aid, it is not an effective long-term treatment, as people can quickly develop a tolerance to its effects.

Histamine: A small-molecule abundant in the body; its most well-known function is its role as a mediator of allergic reactions.


  1. “One in four Americans develop insomnia each year: 75 percent of those with insomnia recover.” Science Daily.  Available at https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180605154114.htm.
  2. “Dramamine.”  WebMD. Available at https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-10007/dramamine-oral/details.
  3. “Histamine.”  Colorado State University VIVO Pathophysiology.  Available at http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/endocrine/otherendo/histamine.html.
  4. “Dimenhydrinate.”  Drugbank.ca. Available at https://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB00985
  5. “Trouble sleeping?  Experts say skip antihistamines.”  Baylor College of Medicine. Available at https://www.bcm.edu/news/sleep-disorders/experts-warn-against-antihistmaines-sleep-aid
  6. Weerts, AP, et al.  “Evaluation of the effects of anti-motion sickness drugs on subjective sleepiness and cognitive performance of healthy males.”  J Psychopharmacol.  Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24346808.
  7. Sproule, BA, et al.  “The use of non-prescription sleep products in the elderly.”  Int J Geriatr Psychiatry.  Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10521884
  8. Pagel, JF.  “Medications and Their Effects on Sleep.”  Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice.  Available at https://www.primarycare.theclinics.com/article/S0095-4543(05)00010-2/abstract.
  9. Sleep and Psychosomatic Medicine.  Available at https://www.crcpress.com/Sleep-and-Psychosomatic-Medicine/Pandi-Perumal-Narasimhan-Kramer/p/book/9781498737289.
  10. “Dramamine (dimenhydrinate) Drug Interactions.”  Drugs.com. Available at https://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/dimenhydrinate,dramamine.html.


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