How to Sleep with a Cold

Sleeping can be very challenging when you have a cold. Congestion and a stuffy nose can make falling and staying asleep difficult. Symptoms like a stuffy nose can make it difficult to breathe while coughing and muscle pain can keep you awake. However, for you to recover from the illness, you are required to get a night of restful sleep because your body needs rest to get better. Fortunately, there are ways to temporarily ease your symptoms and get the rest you need. Read on to learn more about how to sleep with a cold.

Stay Hydrated when you have a Cold

Water makes up about 60% of the human body, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that hydration has a significant impact on overall health and your ability to combat illnesses. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help ease symptoms of nasal congestion. Remember to stop drinking liquids about one hour before your bedtime to prevent nighttime bathroom visits that interfere with sleep.

Stack your pillows

Lying down can make mucus build up in your throat, leading to coughing and restless nights. This doesn’t mean you need to sleep sitting up, though. Simply stack your pillows to lift your head slightly. This can help minimize mucus accumulation in your throat. Avoid using too many pillows, as this could lead to neck pain and discomfort. Just two standard pillows will likely help elevate your head enough.

Breathe in Steam

This is the most effective way to ease nasal congestion and runny nose. Bring water to boil in a wide pan till steam begins to form. Gently inhale the steam, this will help relieve symptoms of a stuffy nose so you can breathe more comfortably. Be sure not to let the air get too damp, and stop using the humidifier if you notice it aggravates symptoms of allergies or asthma.

Avoid alcohol when you have a cold

Against popular myth, Alcohol is very ineffective at killing cold and flu viruses, it can actually have detrimental effects that may worsen the symptoms of the common cold or flu. Alcohol dehydrates the body, slowing down other bodily reactions and weakening the immune system. Additionally, alcohol may conflict with other medications, giving rise to serious complications. Plus, alcohol is a diuretic. It suppresses the antidiuretic hormone, which stops your kidneys from overproducing urine. When this happens, you will likely pee more often. This can lead to dehydration, making it hard for your body to recover. Stay well hydrated by avoiding alcohol and drinking plenty of water instead.

Drink Warm Tea with Honey

Many people find it soothing to drink herbal tea before bed, and certain caffeine-free options such as chamomile6 may help improve sleep quality. Adding honey may help reduce the urge to cough7, without the side effects of cough medicine.

Keep your bedroom cool

According to a 2012 study Trusted Source, the temperature of your bedroom is one of the most important factors that can affect your quality of sleep. This may be even more important when you’re fighting a cold and have a fever. To create a comfortable sleeping environment, keep your bedroom between 60 and 67°F (15.6 and 19.4°C). To keep your room at this temperature, you can:

  • Open windows if the temperature rises, or turn on air conditioning.
  • Run a fan near an open window to keep the air circulating.

Use Cough Medicine

When home remedies fail to provide relief, many people turn to medication such as cough suppressants to reduce coughing, or expectorants to help cough more productively. Cough medication can be a suitable option if it helps you sleep more soundly, but even over-the-counter medications should be used with caution and should not be given to young children.

The bottom line

Most cold symptoms last around 7 to 10 days. In some cases, you might have a hard time getting good quality sleep due to congestion, coughing, or a runny nose. Fortunately, there are ways to help relieve your symptoms. Sometimes, Symptoms usually go away on their own and do not require a trip to the doctor.  Depending on your symptoms, some tips might work better than others. If your cold gets worse or persists for more than 3 weeks, be sure to follow up with a healthcare provider.


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