Cold got you down?
Ugh, cold season has arrived – just in time to Grinchify us for the holidays. With all of the shopping, decorating, baking and gift wrapping, no one has time to lay in bed during the 12 days of Christmas. Sleep is a crucial part of kicking the cold even though it may feel more stressful than restorative. Not to mention, symptoms tend to worsen as bedtime approaches.
The coughing and runny nose started so we put on the stethoscope to investigate 6 ways to enhance your sleep while battling your abominable cold.
1. Choose the best sleeping position
Many people prefer to stack on an extra pillow when unable to sleep with a cold. This may cause your head to sag forward, worsening your breathing problems. Try using a foam wedge that lifts your upper body and helps the nasal packages 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 positions. Laying on your back may worsen a postnasal drip – try sleeping on your side.
2. Maintain a consistent room temperature
Don’t be tempted to overheat the room because you have a cold. Keep the temperature at a comfortable level: 69F – 72F. The humidity in the room is important too. Dry air can worsen your cold symptoms and parch your nose and throat. Use a humidifier to keep the air moist or open up a window for fresh cool air – just don’t let the snow in.
3. Don’t drink alcohol
Sure, it will make you drowsy. But alcohol will dry you out, swell your sinuses and react badly with your cold or flu. Wait into until you’re feeling better and enjoy a Christmas mimosa.
4. Stick to your nightly routine
A cold can make it had 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 schedule not only makes it easier to fall asleep – it can assist in fighting off 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.
5. Have a soothing drink before bed
Many people lose their appetite when the cold kicks in. “You don’t need to increase your fluid intake when you’re ill, but you do need to make sure you don’t get dehydrated,” says Dr Eccles. “And hot drinks are very good, particularly at night time.” Higher calorie drinks like Ovaltine or hot chocolate can help you sleep. More calories equal better sleep mode.
Don’t let cold/flu season ruin your holiday spirit. Instead of hacking all night – hack into those great sleep tips. Need some more tips? Check out how Ellen gets over her cold.