Nighttime cold and flu meds can be a huge relief when you’re coughing and uncomfortable. They’re so effective at getting you to sleep, it’s tempting to take the same cold and flu medication when you aren’t sick but are having some trouble getting some shuteye. But while they may help you fall asleep, these meds can be harmful to your health, and it’s best to turn to other solutions for everyday bedtime assistance. Here are three of the biggest reasons you should avoid taking cold medicine when you don’t need it.

1) Acetaminophen Poisoning

Exceeding the recommended dose of cold medicine can cause major problems for your liver. The pain-relieving medication known as acetaminophen is to blame for this, and if you take too much, it can cause long-term damage to your health. This is especially true if you’re taking acetaminophen in other forms, like in over-the-counter pain medication. It’s just not necessary to put all that acetaminophen into your body if you aren’t actively suffering from an illness that’s causing fever, aches and pains.

Additionally, because acetaminophen harms your liver, its effects can compound with those of alcohol consumption. That means if you take an ordinarily safe dose of cold and flu meds after having a few glasses of wine with dinner, you’re putting much more strain on your liver than you should.

2) Running Down Your Stock of Helpful Meds

Taking nighttime cold and flu medicine when it’s not necessary can also cause you to run out of medication you’ll actually want to have on hand when you’re really sick. Think about it: you’ve been feeling a bit under the weather all day, and by the time you’re ready for bed, you’re coughing, sneezing and feeling terrible. You open the medicine cabinet and find an empty bottle of nighttime cold and flu medicine waiting for you.

This is not just an annoying scenario. Missing out on early doses of cold meds can make the illness more unpleasant to recover from. You’ll save yourself suffering in the long run if you make sure to save your cold med use for those times when you need them most.

3) There Are Better Options Available

If you’re having chronic issues falling asleep, it may be time to take stock of your approach to bedtime. Are you practicing good sleep hygiene by avoiding backlit screens and stressful phone calls while you’re in bed? Getting yourself in a calmer space before bedtime can work wonders. However, while calming herbal tea blends and good sleep hygiene can make it a lot easier to drift off quickly and more soundly, there are some nights that call for something extra. In these situations, you can leave your cold medicine on the shelf and reach for NiteClear® sleep aid instead. NiteClear® has the same medication that makes nighttime cold and flu medication so effective at helping you drift off, but without any off the additional ingredients you don’t need for good night’s sleep.