Sleeping can be difficult when you have a cold. Cold symptoms such as a stuffy nose can make it hard to breathe. Muscle pain and coughing can also keep you awake. Yet, you need to sleep swiftly recover from a cold. Your body needs sleep to rest and to get better. The good news is that there are ways to ease your symptoms and get the necessary rest.
The tips and advice in this article should help you sleep better with a common cold.
Is it good to sleep when you have a cold?
Sleep is one of the best ways to get over the cold or flu quickly. This is even more true if you are running a fever, which is common with colds. Your body needs sleep to fight the infection that is causing your illness. It is a cliché, but you really need plenty of rest if you want to swiftly bounce back from a cold.
What is the best sleeping position when you have a cold?
If you want to sleep with a cold, you need to find a good sleeping position. There are specific postures that can hurt or help your sleep when you have a cold. Sleeping on your back can worsen your congestion because it causes your head to sag forward. It is better to use a foam wedge that elevates your upper body and helps the nasal packages drain if you don’t own a wedge, layer pillows to form a triangular shape.
Rethink your regular sleep position.
If you wake up in the middle of the night with one side of your nose blocked, switch your sleeping position. Laying on your back may worsen a postnasal drip, so try sleeping on your side. The best sleeping position is propping your pillows or sleep on your side. Make sure that you are sleeping at a slight angle to ease your rest and reduce added congestion.
Is it better to sleep in a cold or warm room when sick?
You may be tempted to overheat your bedroom because you have a cold. For better sleep, keep the room temperature cool. The recommended room temperature for a good night’s sleep is between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. There isn’t a specific temperature that is comfortable for everyone. Keep your bedroom at a temperature that is comfortable for you.
With the temperature, keep an eye on the humidity of the room too. Dry air can parch your throat and nose and worsen your cold and flu symptoms. Keep the air moist with a room humidifier or vaporizer. If you don’t have a humidifier, open a door or window for fresh cold air.
Avoid Alcohol for Better Sleep
Alcohol can indeed make you tired, but it will dry you out too. The result is swollen sinuses. It’s best to wait until you are over your cold before you drink alcoholic beverages.
Is it better to sleep upright with a cold?
For a better night of sleep with a cold, you might have to prop yourself up. Elevating your head above your body can help release sinus pressure. Let gravity help you sleep better. Postnasal can build up when you lie down. It can trigger cough and cause throat pain. Use pillows as a wedge to prop yourself up in bed. It will help you breathe easier and sleep better.
Don’t let a cold mess with your sleep routine.
Don’t allow a cold or flu to change your nightly routine. We are creatures of habit. Keeping your sleep habits will help you sleep better. Go to bed and wake up at the usual times. If you stick to your regular sleep schedule, you will fall asleep faster. Healthy sleep habits help you build up your immune system and fight future colds. People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to get sick than those who get 8 hours of sleep a night.
Soothe Your Nighttime Cough
Have you ever noticed that your cough gets worse at nighttime? When a cough keeps you awake all night, you feel truly awful. You can’t cure a common cold, but there are ways to soothe your nighttime cough.
How can you calm a nighttime cough so you can get the sleep you need to recover? You’re in luck because there a lot of treatments for nighttime coughs.
- Adding a humidifier or vaporizer to your room can help you sleep with a cold. Humidifiers help eliminate the dry air that can cause inflammation, pain, and irritation in your throat and nose. It is critical to disinfect and clean your humidifier frequently to get rid of germs.
- Sip a warm tea or soup.
- You might be able to sleep better with a cold if you raise your head with an extra pillow.
- Unblocking your nose with a saltwater or saline nose spray can drastically improve your sleep. As an added bonus, nasal sprays can help reduce snoring.
- Eat a small spoon of honey. Honey helps your brain release melatonin, the hormone that your brain produces in response to darkness. The sugars in honey spike your insulin levels, releasing tryptophan, which becomes serotonin, which becomes melatonin. (Avoid giving honey to babies under age 1.)
- Take a honey or menthol lozenge at bedtime.
If you need more potent cough relief, pharmacy shelves are full of over-the-counter cold or cough remedies you can take to stop a cough.
These drugs may have a combination of different types of medicine in one pill or capsule:
- Phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine are decongestants. They are used to clear your sinuses or stuffy nose. Beware that decongestants can keep you awake.
- A cough suppressant, Dextromethorphan, is widely used, works by blocking your reflex to cough.
- An expectorant is used for thinning out your mucus.
- Doxylamine, chlorpheniramine, brompheniramine, and diphenhydramine are antihistamines use to stop runny nose and sneezing.
Some of these cough treatments can make people feel drowsy. And they make others feel wired up, so they stay awake. And some of them may not be safe if you have health problems such as high blood pressure. It is best to check with your doctor before you take one.
Over-the-counter (OTC) treatments and home remedies are beneficial. But if those don’t do the trick, your doctor can prescribe a more potent cough medicine that includes something to make you drowsy.
Use a Nasal Decongestant
A nasal decongestant helps you sleep with a cold by reducing swollen tissue in your nose. The reduced swollen tissue can decrease the production of mucus. You can sleep easier if you take a nasal decongestant.
Nasal decongestants are over-the-counter drugs. You can find decongestants in the following forms:
- nasal sprays
Nasal decongestants may cause you to feel more wired than tired. So, if you are desperate for rest and sleep, choose a decongestant that is specifically for nighttime use such as NyQuil, Benadryl, or Zyrtec.
Take an Over-The-Counter NSAID
An over-the-counter (OTC) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) can improve various symptoms caused by the common cold. NSAIDs can alleviate cold symptoms such as muscle aches, headache, fever, and ear pain. Although currently, there is no evidence supporting that NSAIDs can improve runny noses, coughs caused by the common cold.
Here are some of the main types of over-the-counter NSAIDs:
- naproxen (Aleve)
- ibuprofen (Advil, Midol, Motrin)
Check the label for the recommended dosage, and carefully follow the directions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that take an OTC NSAID for longer than ten days see a physician. Some studies found acute adverse effects on sleep in humans taking NSAIDS, specifically indomethacin and aspirin.
Have a Warm Bedtime Drink
Scientists agree that hot liquids relieve cold and flu symptoms. A study done by researchers at the Common Cold Center at Cardiff University found that hot beverages are more effective in reducing cold and flu symptoms than drinks at room temperature.
Like a lozenge for a cough or ice for a burn, a cup of warm, steamy drink before bedtime is an age-old balm for sneezing, stuffiness, and sniffles. A hot cup of tea may help soothe a sore throat, and the steam may loosen up your congestion. Fluids also help to reverse dehydration.
Hot decaffeinated tea with honey is an excellent home remedy for the common cold. Ginger tea, Chamomile tea, and peppermint tea have properties that may help you relax, breathe easier, or fight infections. Hot liquids are known to loosen secretions in the sinuses and chest, making them easier to discharge and clear up congestion.
If tea isn’t your thing, you can also sip on:
- Hot soup
- Hot water with honey and lemon juice
- Low-sodium broth
Try to drink a hot drink about 60 to 90 minutes before bedtime. Drinking a lot of warm liquids may cause you to wake up to use the bathroom during the night.
Take a hot shower.
If you have a common cold, your sinuses are running like a leaky pipe. The hot steamy shower can help clear your sinuses. The steam soothes your irritated sinuses and loosens up mucus. Clear out your runny nose while in the shower. The heath from the shower will also relax your aching body, so sleep comes swiftly. If you don’t feel like taking a hot shower, you can put a warm compress over your sinuses or bend over a sink filled with running hot water.
Create an optimal sleep environment.
There is indeed no cure for the common cold, but you can create an optimal sleep environment to help you sleep better. A high-quality humidifier or vaporizer can help create a cold-friendly sleeping area. The moisture in the air will keep your nose and throat comfortable and soothed. Often and mistakenly, cold sufferers crank up the heat when they go to bed. A cool bedroom temperature will help you sleep at night.