melatonin vs diphenhydramineIf you find yourself on this page, the chances are high that you’re having trouble sleeping. Maybe you can’t fall asleep at night? Or is it that you can fall asleep, but you wake up several times throughout the night? Or do you feel your sleep quality is bad? Maybe you sleep for 8 hours, but wake up with little energy? There are many reasons why you could be sleeping badly throughout the night, and it is important that you fix this problem. Many doctors recommend you fix your lifestyle first. But this is not feasible for everyone. Sometimes you’re just too tired to do this. In this case it could be better to start with a supplement or over-the-counter medication to attack your sleeping problem. That’s why today we’re going to discuss melatonin vs diphenhydramine (benadryl).

Both supplements / medication work for many sleeping problems. So that’s the first thing I want you to know that if you for example suffering from insomnia, taking either of these two will help you. However, there are some things that you should take into account. Benadryl is stronger than melatonin. It’s a chemical solution to fall asleep. Whereas melatonin is a natural molecule that your body itself produces when it’s time to fall asleep.

What you’ll learn in this article:

In this melatonin vs diphenhydramine article we’ll answer all your questions you have about these two sleeping aids. But first we’ll give you a 5 step program that you can follow to decide which of these two is the better option in your case.

Note: I’m not a doctor. If you’re suffering from serious sleeping problems, I recommend you first of all go to your doctor and ask him what the best thing is for you. However, not everyone will do this and some people are going to take over the counter sleeping aids. That’s why I want this information to be out there for those who need it.

Melatonin vs diphenhydramine (benadryl)

I will spare you all the chemical details of both melatonin and diphenhydramine. If you’re curious for more information, check out this page about melatonin vs diphenhydramine. There the chemical structure and effect on the body is further elaborated.

However, I want you to have a quick overview of each of these two sleeping aids. As we discussed in the introduction, the main difference between melatonin and benadryl is that melatonin is a natural substance in your body. Benadryl is a molecule that forces an outside effect on your brain.

How do melatonin and diphenhydramine work?


When you take melatonin, your mind does not see the difference between melatonin that it makes itself, and melatonin that you take as a supplement. Therefore it will have the same effect. What melatonin does your body is that it signals your brain that it’s time to fall asleep. You’re melatonin levels are  low throughout the day, and they peak in the hours before going to bed. So what will happen when you take melatonin is that your brain will start to feel sleepy. When you start to feel sleepy you can then go to bed and fall asleep. With melatonin it’s important that you follow some other sleeping guidelines. As it can be easy to negate the effects of melatonin. For example: don’t watch blue screens before bed – or exercise too close to your bedtime.

Diphenhydramine on the other hand will sedate you to fall asleep. It’s more effective in general, but since it is an unnatural molecule that you put into your body, there are some things that you need to watch out for. For example, with diphenhydramine it’s easier to become tolerant to it and when you stop taking it you might notice of withdrawal symptoms.

So basically melatonin vs diphenhydramine is a matter of the natural vs chemical road to fall asleep.

The following 5 steps will help you make a guided decision which of the two is better for you:

Step 1: What’s your sleeping problem?

The first step that you need to take is to identify what exactly your sleep problem is. Now, you probably already know this. Here are some common sleeping problems:

  • Insomnia (not being able to fall asleep)
  • Waking up throughout the night
  • No energy after waking up
  • Not being able to get enough sleep
  • Nightmares

It is also possible that you have some overlap between these problems. Maybe you experience nightmares and that’s why you’re afraid to fall asleep (insomnia).  the first step to solving any problem is to check exactly what type of problem you have.

Step 2: How bad is your sleeping problem?

The next step is to check how bad your sleeping problem is. What I mean by this is the necessity on how fast you need to solve it. For example, Insomnia on the lower side of the spectra is that you’re lying in bed half an hour before you can fall asleep. For some people this wouldn’t even be classified as Insomnia. On the other side of the spectrum there is eternal insomnia. This means that a person cannot sleep at all. This is a deadly disorder.

The worse your sleeping problem and the more adverse consequences it has, the stronger sleeping aid it allows for.

So ask yourself if your sleeping problem is something that is causing serious harm to your life and body? Or if this is something that is less serious and can be solved by taking soft measures against it.

Step 3: Assess your risk tolerance

After you’ve found out what your sleeping problem is and how badly its consequences are, you’ve got to check your own risk tolerance. The reason why this is, is because diphenhydramine is a stronger sleeping aid, but it can have some adverse consequences such as tolerance and withdrawal symptoms.

If those are things that you do not want to have in your life, then it might be smarter to take melatonin. If you’re unsure, please go see a doctor who will help you with this.

Step 4: Decide which is better for your melatonin vs diphenhydramine

Now it’s time to put the previous three steps together. You can see it as a matrix. Here are the four outcomes:

  • Serious sleeping problem + high risk tolerance = diphenhydramine
  • Serious sleeping problem + low risk tolerance = melatonin
  • Less serious sleeping problem + high risk tolerance = melatonin/benadryl
  • Less serious sleeping problem + low risk tolerance = melatonin


Only in the third case you can choose between both options. In this case it will depend on for how long you will be taking it. If you suffer from the occasional insomnia (once every  week or 2 weeks), then it is no problem to take diphenhydramine. However, if you want to take it everyday I recommend you choose melatonin for this scenario.

Step 5: Test it for 2 weeks!

After you’ve made your decision to pick melatonin vs diphenhydramine, it is time to test it out. I recommend you set a specific time frame for how long you’re going to test it. 2 weeks is enough in this case. The reason why you want to put a specific time period is so that you can assess if it’s working, and if there any negative effects from it.

In these two test week’s, be sure to take the recommended amount of each sleep aid as stated on the package.

Check out some recommended melatonin and benadryl supplements here:


Our advice:

After you’ve done the two test weeks of melatonin in benadryl, you’ll likely experience one of the following 4 outcomes:

You’re taking diphenhydramine and it works

If you’re taking diphenhydramine and it works, then you can continue taking it. Since it is a pretty strong sleeping aid, we do recommend that you experiment with lowering the dose after taking it for two weeks. The less you can take of this for sleeping aid, the better it will be for your body and for eventual negative effects.

What you can also do instead of reducing the dose, is to switch to melatonin instead. It’s better for your body and it’s a better long-term option.

You’re taking diphenhydramine and it doesn’t work

If you’re taking diphenhydramine and it doesn’t work, then I highly recommend you go see a doctor. You’re sleeping problem is beyond the scope of this article. I do recommend you work on your overall lifestyle to make sure that there are no obvious things that are keeping you from sleeping. Drink less coffee, get enough sunlight during the day, don’t eat a lot – or crappy food before going to bed and eat healthy. This advice is good in every scenario by the way.

You’re taking melatonin and it works

If you’re taking melatonin and it works you’re in a good position. You can continue doing this for as long as you feel necessary. You can after 2 weeks experience with lowering the dosage of melatonin, although this is not necessary. You can also once a while try not taking melatonin before going to bed and see if your sleeping problem has been solved.

You’re taking melatonin and it doesn’t work

If you’re taking melatonin and it doesn’t work, then you can switch to using benadryl. However, bear in mind that it is a stronger sleeping aid and might be tolerance creating for you. I recommend you do another 2 week test to see if it works for you.

Conclusion melatonin vs diphenhydramine (benadryl)

We’ve made it to the end of this melatonin vs diphenhydramine article. If you follow the 5 steps described before, I’m sure you will have a clear idea which of the two sleeping is is the better choice for you to take.

if you have any questions, or want to share your experience with taking any of these two supplements, feel free to do so in the comments!


If you want to get your sleeping aid fast, you can order it through Amazon:


P.S. I recommend you start with melatonin as it’s better for your body. Here’s an effective brand for a good price!

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