Do the sniffles and coughs around your workplace sound like a never-ending symphony of noises? The deep winter months have been known to breed the common cold, the flu, and other pesky viruses and infections. If you’re one of the unlucky ones to contract these winter ailments, you know the torture of trying to get quality shut-eye while your throat, nose, and head are uncooperative. You may not get the best sleep you’ve ever had, but we’ve got some ideas to make your zzzs a little better while battling a cold.
Not sure if you’re getting the right amount of sleep for your age and gender, whether you’re sick or not? Download the free SleepScore App to accurately measure your sleep and compare it to others your age. Then, get helpful tips on ways you can start improving!
Explore Over-the-Counter Remedies
If you’re feeling stuffy, hot, achy, or all of the above, there’s likely a medication you can try to temporarily alleviate your symptoms. Always be sure to read the ingredients and dosages before consuming any medications. Some medications can’t be taken together, and others may not improve your specific symptoms. If you have questions about what’s right for your illness, consult with the pharmacist before purchasing. Getting the right symptom reliever could mean quieting your cough, clearing your sinuses, and reducing your fever, so you can enjoy some much needed, uninterrupted rest.
Take a Steamy Hot Shower
If your sinuses are running like a leaky pipe, it can feel like a losing battle trying to get them clear. Taking a hot shower with lots of steam can help loosen up mucus, and soothe your uncomfortable sinuses. Use this time to clear out your runny nose so you can lay off the tissues when you go to bed. The warmth will also relax your tired body, so sleep comes swiftly.
Create an Optimal Sleep Environment
Winter illnesses are often made worse in certain conditions. Investing in a good humidifier can help create a cold-friendly sleeping area because the moisture in the air will keep your nose and throat soothed and comfortable. A common mistake cold sufferers make is cranking up the heat when they go to bed. A cool bedroom temperature (around 60-68F) will keep you from sweating and waking up at night.
A hot caffeine-free tea or other caffeine-free alternative is a great way to stay hydrated and give your sore throat some relief at bedtime. Hot beverages can help relieve symptoms of runny noses, coughing, sore throats, and chills, at least for a short while.
Find a Good Sleeping Position
Experts suggest that certain postures can help or hurt sleep when you have a cold. When you sleep on your back, it can make congestion even worse. Sleeping on your side, or propping your pillows so you’re sleeping at a slight angle, can reduce added congestion and help you rest easier.
Make Sure You’re Sleepy
If you find yourself tossing and turning in bed, unable to relax or get comfortable, hop out of bed and do something else. Go into another room to read a book under dim light, listen to music or a podcast, or some other low-intensity activity until you feel sleepy. Waiting until you’re really ready for sleep before getting into bed will promote healthier sleep habits year-round.
The good news is the common cold and flu generally last a few weeks at most. They’re often uncomfortable and irritating, but they’re just another part of life. Take steps to avoid getting sick like washing your hands often, using antibacterial hand sanitizer, and steering clear of sick friends and family. If you do get sick, try your best to implement these tricks to help you get good sleep. It’ll put you on the fast track to recovery, and you’ll be better able to go about your day-to-day tasks, even while feeling under the weather.
Download the free SleepScore App for insights on how well you sleep, the quality and quantity of your sleep cycles, and sleep improvement progress with science-backed tips and insights. Personalized advice, goals, and challenges are available with an optional premium upgrade, but you can try SleepScore Premium for 7 days free (for a limited time).