Sleep is a natural medicine that can help your body fight off a cold. Since there is no instant way of curing the flu or common cold, getting lots of rest and taking lots of fluids can help your immune system fight the virus faster. However, it’s not that easy to fall asleep when you’re sick, especially when you can’t breathe properly because you have a congested chest and a stuffy nose. You will frequently wake up because of your scratchy throat and the constant coughing.
You will experience body aches and pains that will add to your discomfort no matter how comfortable your bed is. The chills and fever will have you wrestling with the blankets. One minute you’re throwing away the blankets because of sweating, and the next you’re looking for the same blankets because you’re feeling cold.
However, there are things you can do that will help you get the rest that you need to help your body rest and recover.
- Use a humidifier or vaporizer
You can use a humidifier to add moisture to the air you’re breathing to help soothe your dry sinuses. But, before you use it to make sure you’ve cleaned it properly as it can breed bacteria and mold which can add to the problems you’re trying to remedy. Clean the tank and change the water daily at least after a few days to keep it clean.
- Take a steamy shower
A hot shower will not only relax you, but the steam from the hot water is also an effective and natural way of helping you breathe better by easing your congestion. To boost its effectiveness, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil which contains antiviral properties to help ease your joint pains and loosening the mucus in your airways. Lavender oil is also a good oil you can use as it has a soothing scent which helps you to relax. A hot shower or bath lowers your body temperature which helps you to sleep better. Alternatively, if you feel too weak to stand, you can sit over a sink with running hot water or sit in a steamy bathroom with the door shut.
- Prop your head with pillows
Your symptoms are likely to get worse when you lie down because you’re sleeping horizontally which causes mucus to collect giving you cough and a sore throat. Even after relieving your nasal congestion, it will still return after some time. To reduce that likelihood, you can prop your head or keep your head elevated using pillows to help keep your nasal passages open. This will help gravity do the work for you and you can breathe and sleep a little bit better.
- Create a comfortable sleeping environment
Whether you’re sick or not, getting a good night sleep depends on having a comfortable sleeping environment. To create a conducive sleeping environment, you need to remove or block any distracting light. Blinds or heavy curtains will help keep out the light from outside. Also, turn off any electronic devices in your bedroom. To block the noise, you can use a white noise machine to drown the noise, listen to calming music, or use earplugs. The other thing that you would want to do is reduce the temperatures in your bedroom. Sleeping on a comfortable cool mattress like the Casper mattresses will help to regulate your body temperature. Also, avoid sleeping with so many beddings to avoid sweating and to help you sleep better.
- Avoid taking stimulating medication
Cough and cold medications medication that treat congestion, fever, running nose, cough, and aches contain active ingredients like decongestants that will keep you awake. Carefully check the ingredients and make sure you choose the medication that closely matches your symptoms. Antihistamines, on the other hand, make you very drowsy. Also, when you’re going to bed, don’t take any medication that is labeled daytime or non-drowsy since it may contain ingredients that will keep you awake at night. Flu and cold medication designed to help you sleep usually contain alcohol which will give you fragmented sleep. If you must take medication, experts recommend you take acetaminophen which is good for fever, body aches, and headaches.
- Have a feel-good kit on your nightstand
After struggling to fall asleep, the last thing you want is to wake up in the middle of the night to look for a glass of water or tissues. Instead, you can keep a glass of water with some honey on your nightstand to help ease your coughs and soothe your throat. The tissues will help with your running nose. Also, have a book or some magazines nearby for when you can’t sleep to help you fall asleep again.
- Stay hydrated
Drinking a hot cup of herbal tea that is caffeine-free will help keep you hydrated and at the same time soothe your sore throat before going to bed. Taking hot tea or soup will help clear your nasal passages making it easier for you to breathe. Tea with a few drops of honey is not only good for you sore throat, but it’s also a very effective cough suppressant that works just like cough syrup.
- Make a saline wash
Instead of using a nasal spray for your congestion, try using a simple saline wash which can be more effective in relieving congestion. Use natural sea salt mixed with warm water and snort it directly from your hands. To make it easier, use a neti pot, a teapot-shaped device you can get from your local drugs store, and use it to pour the saline water into one nostril and out the other.
- Stick to your bedtime schedule
It’s hard to stick to your bedtime when you have a cold, but it helps if you can go to bed and wake up at your usual time. This will help make it easier for you to fall asleep and also fight to get a cold next time. According to studies, if you don’t get enough rest you’re 3 times more likely to catch a cold than someone who sleeps 8 or more hours every night.
It might be hard to fall asleep or even be comfortable in bed when you have a cold, but the above points can help make it easier which will help in your recovery.