While a cold is mostly just an annoyance rather than a serious health concern, some of its symptoms can have quite frustrating side effects which affect your overall quality of life and make it difficult to get a good night’s rest.
Whether it’s a blocked nose, a runny nose, or congested sinuses, there are few things more frustrating than trying to sleep with a cold, and it can often feel like there’s no way to solve this issue.
There’s no reason to suffer helplessly, however, and there are quite a few things you can try which may relieve some of the worst symptoms of a cold, making it easier for you to rest and allow your body to recover and heal.
Take Anti-Inflammatory Tablets
There are many over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines that can help reduce pain and inflammation. One of the most widely used and popular is Ibuprofen, however, there are many other types of these drugs, known as NSAIDs.
These drugs are commonly used to treat pain and inflammation and are often recommended for colds, flu, headaches, and other illnesses such as this, and alongside their anti-inflammatory and anti-pain properties, they can also help reduce your temperature.
These drugs are not suitable for everyone however and can come with side effects, so always make sure to read the included labels and instructions and seek professional medical advice if you’re not sure or have never used these types of drugs before.
It’s important to always read the instructions as it is possible to overdose on these drugs, so pay attention to the included instructions for the dosages you purchase and stick to the correct amounts and timings to prevent causing harm to yourself.
Use Nasal Spray
Nasal decongestant sprays are another great choice for directly reducing inflammation and swelling inside the nose and sinuses, which can make breathing easier and reduce the pain and discomfort of a blocked nose.
These are often available over the counter at most stores and pharmacies and can come as a spray as well as drops and even pills. Typically they are best used by adults, and shouldn’t be used for too long a period of time or consecutively to prevent other issues from occurring.
As always when using any medicine, read the instructions carefully and stick to them, seeking medical attention if issues occur.
Drink a Warm Beverage
Moving away from pharmaceutical solutions, one way to help yourself sleep with a cold is to drink something warm before you sleep.
One important caveat is, you shouldn’t drink anything with caffeine, no matter how much you love a coffee or tea before bed. Whatever you think, caffeine is a stimulant and this will make it more difficult for you to sleep and reduce the quality of your rest even if you don’t realize it.
Some great alternatives to caffeinated drinks are hot chocolate, warm milk, hot squash, warm milk, and honey, or even warm fruit juice (don’t knock it until you try it!)
Warm drinks have a soothing effect on our throats and as our noses, throats and ears are all surprisingly interconnected, helping to soothe one of these can relieve symptoms affecting the others too. Warm drinks can also help open up sinuses and wash away mucus.
Use a Humidifier
Humidifiers work by helping prevent dryness in the air, which in turn can help keep your throat and nose from becoming dry and uncomfortable when blocked.
Hot dry air can be really uncomfortable when suffering from blocked sinuses and can even make symptoms worse, causing further mucus production and more congestion.
Humidifiers help reduce the likelihood of dry air irritating your nose and can help you breathe more easily.
Take a Warm Bath/Shower
Taking a warm bath or shower is great for a few different reasons. First and foremost it will help relax you and put you in a calmer state of mind, helping prepare your body and mind for rest.
However, the main benefit is the steam that a hot shower or bath gives off, which can help dilute mucus and congestion in your sinuses and provide relief to irritated skin in the nose and throat.
Allowing the steam to accumulate is key, and you can even add essential oils such as eucalyptus or other favorites to create a relaxing scent and improve your feelings of well-being and relaxation.
Change Your Position
Most people sleep in a relatively flat position, but when you have a cold this can cause a host of issues.
Sleeping flat will make it easier for mucus to build up in your sinuses and throat, worsening your congestion and irritation and feeling incredibly uncomfortable and disorientating.
The best solution to this is to sleep in a more upright position, stacking your pillows or using something else to prop you up at a gentle angle. This will help mucus and phlegm to move and make it easier for you to swallow or spit out any mucus instead of allowing it to remain clogged in your nose and throat.
Just make sure you don’t lie at too extreme an angle to prevent other issues such as back pain.
Gargling salt water may sound like a rather unpleasant option, but it can have a lot of benefits, preventing the build-up and spread of bacteria and infection if your symptoms are only just beginning. It’s also easy and cheap to make a salt water solution at home which can be a quick fix in a pinch and prevent you from becoming more incapacitated.
Use Vapor Rub or Tiger Balm
Vapor rubs can come in a variety of different forms with many different ingredients, however, they all have properties that help reduce congestion in the sinuses and chest.
Some use eucalyptus, while clothes rely on camphor or menthol, but each of them has cooling effects and can help loosen and remove mucus.
Stick to your Natural Schedule
Even when you are finding it hard to sleep, try to stick to your natural circadian rhythms, as your body will be in a hormonal cycle that helps your body to sleep better.
Avoiding or ignoring these cycles or disturbing them can have wide-ranging health effects and make your illness worse.