Coping with colds

Sleeping when you have a cold

The winter chill has arrived, and while we may relish the need for cosy pyjamas and extra blankets, the season also seems to bring less lovely things… like colds and flu. Sleeping with a stuffy nose can feel like an impossible task.

But help is at hand. Here are six sleep strategies while you heal those soggy sinuses.

 

1. Smart sleep positions

While it may be tempting to stack pillows to raise your head, this may lead to your head flopping forward, narrowing your airways and making it harder to breathe. Instead, try stacking pillows in a triangular configuration with one below your shoulder blades, two under your shoulders and three pillows under your head. This gentle incline should make it easier for the fluid to drain away from your face and help you to breathe more easily.

 

2. Add a humidifier

Frequent nose blowing can lead to dryness and discomfort that will keep you uncomfortable all night. By introducing a cool-mist humidifier, you will not only add some moisture back into your sleep space, but it will also help decrease irritation and inflammation, helping you rest more easily.

 

3. Layer up

Resist the temptation to turn up the heat with electric blankets and heaters. Instead, add light blankets in layers, which can easily be removed or replaced as your body regulates its temperature throughout the night.

 

4. Choose a soothing drink before bed

Staying hydrated can help with allergies and nasal congestion. There may no need to increase your fluid intake while ill, but having a soothing drink like Rooibos tea with fresh lemon and ginger before bed can help you sleep more peacefully.

 

5. Avoid alcohol – at least until you’re feeling better

Alcohol may help you fall asleep but can encourage sinus swelling, making you feel more congested. Instead, stick with prescribed medicines suggested by your doctor or pharmacist and celebrate with a nightcap once you’re in the clear.

 

6. Stick to your sleep schedule

While rest is vital while recovering from illness, forcing yourself to sleep outside of your regular schedule may mess with your routine for weeks afterwards. Having a sleep schedule ensures you get consistent rest which, in turn, can make you more resistant to illnesses. Listen to your body and trust your gut, but try to go to bed and wake up as you usually would, even if your cold medication makes you feel a bit sleepy.

For more sleep tips and advice, visit our Sleep Blog.

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