Sleep aids have always been a common product, whether coupled with other medications or sold expressly for that purpose. In recent years, pain relievers have become a popular choice to partner with an ingredient that causes a person to feel drowsy and to sleep. Two of the more prominent over-the-counter medications in this area are Tylenol PM and Advil PM.
Most of these products including Tylenol PM and Advil PM use the sleep aid diphenhydramine. This is the same ingredient found in Benadryl. However, the pain relieving ingredient is in a much higher dosage.
The idea of linking a more powerful dose of a pain reliever to a sleep aid arises from the fact that many times pain is a primary cause of an inability to sleep. By relieving the pain, the sleep aid can act more efficiently to assist in helping a person get a good night’s sleep.
The active ingredient for pain relief in Tylenol PM is acetaminophen. In Advil PM, the ingredient is ibuprofen. These are two of the best selling pain relieving ingredients on the market today. However, each product has a different approach to the desired effect.
Acetaminophen is an analgesic. It relieves pain by raising the pain threshold in patients. The way it works is not clearly known. Ibuprofen works as an anti-inflammatory drug and reduces pain by attacking the area and reducing the inflammation. Pain causing diseases such as arthritis are particularly susceptible to relief from ibuprofen.
Both Tylenol PM and Advil PM contain the maximum recommended over-the-counter dose of their respective products. Tylenol PM contains 500 mg. of acetaminophen in each caplet or gel cap. Advil PM contains 200 mg of ibuprofen. In each case, the recommended adult dose is two caplets or gel caps. A liquid version of Tylenol PM is available, but the level of medication is still the same.
The difference between the two medications comes in the amount of diphenhydramine given per recommended dose. In Tylenol PM, the amount of diphenhydramine is a total 50 mg. While this is twice the level of Benadryl, it still trails the Advil PM. The two caplet dose of Advil PM delivers 76 mg of the sleep ingredient.
Either product is going to give a knock out punch with the heavy dose of diphenhydramine. For aches and pains associated with stiff joints or achy feet, Tylenol probably wins the race by a little. However, for arthritis pain or pain from overworked muscles, Advil will usually get the nod.
Tylenol has the disadvantage of being linked to liver damage when significant doses have been taken over extended periods of time. While Advil has been linked with some kidney issues, it will not reach a dangerous level with the over-the-counter dose when taken correctly.
For most pain relief, I personally have had better luck with Advil. It is likely that the anti-inflammatory has benefited me more than a straight analgesic. However, my wife who is often plagued with foot pain and headaches, has received the better relief from Tylenol.
When trying to escape the aches and pains of the flu or related illnesses, I have actually only used Tylenol PM. It has done an excellent job of symptom relief and allowing me to sleep. There are two questions to be answered. What type of pain are you trying to relieve? Both products will to a passing job for most pain including headaches.
If you are looking for the extra kick in the sleep department, Advil PM should be able to get you into dreamland and keep you there most of the night. However, if you are not a regular user of Benadryl or a related product, Tylenol PM should contain enough sleeping ingredients to do the job.