Cold Comforts –Savvy Sleep Strategies When Congestion, Sniffles & Sneezes Strike
5 mom-approved tips for sleeping better with a cold
There’s no safe place to hide from a cold. Though the CDC says that winter and spring are prime time for cold season, a nasty virus can catch you any time of year – on average, Americans get 2-3 colds annually. It’s no fun in the least and the sleepless nights that come with the congestion, sneezing and coughing don’t help either.
With health, wellness and better sleep in mind, you’ll want to take heed of this sound motherly advice on how to get some rest and feeling better soon.
1. Breathe easier with the right sleep position
Many people prefer to pile up extra pillows when they’re unable to sleep with a cold. While elevating your head sounds like a good idea, it might cause you added grief throughout the night. Elevating your head may cause it tilt forward, worsening breathing problems. Instead, use a foam wedge to raise your upper body and help nasal passages drain. If you don’t have a wedge, layer pillows to form a triangular shape.
If you wake up with one side of your nose blocked, try switching which side you lie on. Avoid sleeping on your back as that may worsen that nasty postnasal drip.
2. Mind the air quality in your bedroom
Colds often come with chills, and even though you’re not fevered, you might want to overheat your bedroom to compensate. A better strategy is to keep the temperature at a cool 69F – 72F and bundle up with blankets that you can cuddle under or throw off as your body temperature fluctuates. The humidity in the room is important too. Dry air can worsen cold symptoms and parch your nose and throat. Use a humidifier to keep the air moist or open a window for fresh cool air.
3. Skip the nightcap when you’re sick
Sure, an after dinner drink (or 2) may make you drowsy. But alcohol isn’t the answer to sleeplessness when you’re sick. It’s snooze-inducing affects are short lived and you’ll be more prone to wakening mid-night as your body attempts to metabolize it. Plus booze will dry you out, swell your sinuses and interact negatively with cold or flu medications. Wait into until you’re feeling better to hit the cocktails again.
4. Stick to your nightly routine, despite wanting to sleep earlier
A cold can make it hard to stick to your typical bedtime. But it’s best to wake up and head to bed at the same time as usual when you’re sick. Sticking to a sleep schedule not only makes it easier to fall asleep – it can help you fight the next cold. One study suggests that people who don’t get enough zzz’s are three times more likely to catch a cold than those who get 8 or more hours of sleep a night. To fight your current cold and ward off future ones, get adequate rest – a powerful immunity booster.
5. Sip a soothing drink before bed
Many people lose their appetite when a cold kicks in. You don’t need to substantially increase your fluid intake when you’re ill, but you do need to make sure you don’t dehydrate. A hot drink, particularly at nighttime, can soothe swollen throat membranes and hydrate you at the same time. Consider a higher calorie drink like Ovaltine or hot chocolate to help replace lost calories and help you sleep. When you’re sick, more calories often equals better sleep – but just while you’re nursing a cold.
Don’t let cold/flu season ruin your day. Instead of hacking all night – hack into those great sleep tips.