Nothing is worse than trying to get to sleep when you have a cold. Not only do you find yourself spluttering and snuffling through the night, but you can also feel as though your breathing is being restricted. We all know how important it is to get enough rest when fighting off a cold, but have you noticed that all the coughing, spluttering and general inability to breathe often makes sleep with a cold almost impossible especially when camping or hiking? Why is that, and is there anything you can do to help?
The reason we struggle to sleep with a cold is primarily due to gravity and hydration. Once we lie down flat, the excess mucus in the sinuses and head create far more pressure than when sitting up. this makes it harder to breathe, causes more pain in the head, and we have to breathe through our mouth which then dries out the throat and leads to coughing spasms. When you have a cold, struggling to sleep can add insult to injury. A blocked nose and cough are symptoms (among several) that often keep people awake. Sleep is one of the best medicines when it comes to fighting off colds. It’s a big booster for your immune system, improving your body’s ability to fend off viruses before they take hold. And when you do get sick, adequate sleep helps you bounce back faster. Get a good night’s sleep with a cold so you can get the rest you need to feel better faster.
The good news is that if you follow the simple tips and natural remedies below, you should find you get a better night’s sleep despite your cold, and this should in turn speed up your recovery and continue enjoying your outdoor activities:
1. Take a Steamy Shower
when you have a cold, your sinuses fill up with mucus, and that mucus makes it hard to breath. As a result, it’s hard to sleep. Instead of blowing your nose all night, take a hot shower or bath before you go to bed. The steam will help clear out your sinuses, and relieve your stuffy nose and congestion.
2. Coat your throat
hot tea (decaf, of course) and honey are a great combination when you have a sore throat. A cup before bed will bring temporary relief so you can fall asleep. Or try a honey cough drop to get the same result, but make sure you don’t slip into slumber with the drop still in your mouth.
3. Try a Saline rinse
“Saline” just means salt water. These rinses can curb mucus, make it easier to breathe, and relieve a sore throat – all good things when you’re ready for bed.
A neti pot is handy for giving your nose a good rinse. It looks like a small teakettle, but put the mug aside. The spout goes in your nostril to help wash the mucus out. If you don’t have a neti pot, a spray bottle will work as well.
4. Use a vapor rub
just like your mom did when you were little, rub vapor on your chest and neck. And maybe put a little dab under your nose. The rub can improve cough and congestion, which will help you settle down at night.
5. Banish dry Air
A cool mist humidifier in your bedroom will help you breathe easier when you have a cold. A humidifier will also keep your throat from getting dry as you sleep, especially if you’re so congested you breathe through your mouth.
6. Manage Your Cough
To get an extra edge when you’re sick and trying to fall asleep, take a long-acting cough suppressant. Avoid decongestants at night if you plan to get some shuteye.
A 12-hour cough suppressant will help you sleep through the night when you’re sick. but be careful of the decongestants. they can make you jittery and interfere with the sleep you need to get better.
7. Feather your nest
when you’re sick, a comfy bed with warm blankets and a quiet, dark room will help you sleep. As always, avoid TV in the evening, unplug from your computer or phone, and don’t have caffeine after 3 p.m. keep a cool cup of water next to your bed in case your throat gets sore at night.
Also, add an extra pillow so that your head is higher than normal. It helps ease sinus pressure and makes it easier to breathe.
8. Grab Your Soup bowl
It’s the ultimate home remedy. Like a hot bath, the steam from the soup can help clear your sinuses. Chicken soup really does give you an advantage. It may cut down on inflammation in your upper airways. That inflammation is behind most of your cold symptoms. While scientists still don’t fully understand how it works, it’s worth a shot.
9. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
For better breathing and less coughing, it is also important to keep the mucous membranes well hydrated. Drink as much water as possible during the day (hot or warm liquids are best if you are ill), and drink a cup of warm water, honey and lemon, herb tea or Echinaforce hot drink before you go to bed. Keep a glass of water on your bedside table to ease coughing spasms during the night.