Sleep Wellbeing

Have a cold & can’t sleep? Sleep better with these tips.

how to sleep with a cold
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Having a cold is difficult enough when you head out to work and all you seem to do is sneeze, sniff, blow your nose and generally feel your get up and go has decided to stay in bed which you probably feel you should be too!  There are many things you can take to get you through the day but when it comes time to sleep it is a whole new level of being uncomfortable.  

You will be pleased to know that there are some things you can do that will help you get a good night’s rest no matter how bad your cold is, how stuffed up your nose is and how bad you feel…

What to do during the day

I think the key is to try things and continue with them if they work for you.  Some things may work, others may not.  But the first step is to try things that will help improve you getting a good night’s sleep.  

1. Dab don’t blow your nose

The pesky nose really doesn’t know what to be up to when you have a cold!  From blocked up to runny and everything in between.  The best thing to do for your nose is to dab rather than blow as it stops any fluid from going from your nose to your sinuses and blocking them too. 

It is a hard thing to do when you are used to blowing your nose but once you get used to it you will be pleased you did.  Not only that it will stop your nose becoming red too which is another down side to having the cold.   

how to sleep with the cold

2. Massage your pressure points

Also known as acupressure, what has always helped me is massaging either side at the top of my nose and pressing in and holding.  Doing this several times will help unblock your sinuses and you will also feel relaxed after it too.  

Another great place to put pressure and massage is the innermost corner of your eyebrows. This is amazing if you have a sinus headache with the cold.  Alternatively get your partner to do it for you and you can just lie there and relax!

I also love to massage my head, there are pressure points on your skull so work out what relieves the pressure by gently massaging your head and see where gives you the best relief. 

3. Drink water

Maybe too much information but the mucus we  all get from a cold can often stay around your nose too long and make congestion worse!  The best thing to do during the day is to drink water.  Not only will this help you stay hydrated but it will also loosen the mucus and stop it from blocking your sinuses.  

4. Spicy food is your friend

When I eat spicy food my nose takes on a life of it’s own running no stop.  That is because there is a chemical in certain spices called capsaicin, it is this that has a thinning effect on any mucus we may have and it helps to relive any congestion you may be suffering.  So if you have a blocked up nose try reaching for hot sauces, salsa or any type of curry. 

5. Take a decongestant medicine

You could opt to take a decongestant medicine which comes in the form of a nasal spray or pill.  While you can buy over the counter you may want to speak to your doctor beforehand.  The medicine reduces the swelling of blood vessels in your nose. 

Decongestants are sold over the counter as nasal sprays and oral medications. You don’t need a prescription to buy them, although you might want to consult a pharmacist or doctor if you have another medical condition or are taking other medications. Some of these also contain caffeine so I would suggest not using them in the evening or they will keep you awake at night.  

7. Use cough drops

Also known as menthol lozenges, these will help to soothe your throat and stop the reflex that makes you want to cough.  They contain menthol that helps clear your airways to help you breathe easier by giving the sensation that air is passing through.  These are easily available over the counter. 

8. Don’t drink alcohol 

If you drink then doing so when you have the cold can make you feel worse.  Drinking alcohol can cause you to sneeze, increase your blocked up nose or cause your runny nose to run even more.  What also happens if you drink is that it makes you run to the bathroom.  That is because alcohol is a diuretic so you can become dehydrated when you drink it.  

Alcohol also has a very negative impact upon sleep, you can read more in this post. 

9. Reduce your caffeine intake

As reducing your alcohol is best during the cold then reducing your caffeine is yet another stimulant.  While this is great during the day, when it comes to the evening you don’t want anything that will stimulate you and keep you from sleeping.  Not to mention tea and coffee having a mild diuretic effect. If you need to drink coffee or tea, then do so in the morning but try your best to stop around 2pm to give your body a chance to have a great night’s sleep. 

how to sleep with the cold

10. Keep pets at bay

Alas pets can  have a negative effect on your cold their hair can trigger all manner of symptoms including sneezing.  To help you breath freely just keep your pets at arms length until you are over the worst of your cold. 

What to do each evening

After trial and error over the years I have come up with tings that help me and I have no doubt will help you too, give them a go and let me know how you get on…

11. Eat a hearty bowl of chicken soup

Did you know that chicken soup has medicinal benefits?  It has been proven by research to provide you with much needed vitamins and minerals at a time when your body needs them the most. It’s also has a mild anti-inflammatory effect as well as keeping you hydrated. 

Above all it feels like a great big hug in a mug!

12. Drink a cup of hot tea

Tea has antioxidants so when you drink it it can help your stuffiness in your nose.  Indeed other research has proven that a hot drink can help you feel better.  

I love to add a drop of honey and lemon to my tea.  Honey also helps with a sore through while lemon also helps with infections.  When I take it in the evening I go for caffeine free so it won’t keep me awake. 

how to sleep with a cold

13. Rinse your mouth with salt water & chew garlic

If your throat is painful then you can rinse your mouth out with salt water.  Warm up the water in a kettle first before adding salt.  Gurgling will help get rid of the virus.

Another option is to chew on a small piece of garlic.  Again this is great at getting rid of the virus, although you may want to do this as soon as you first feel the signs of a cold.

14. Steam your head

Putting bowling water in a bowl, placing a towel over your head and steaming your head will help to loosen the mucus.  I also drop in a tiny amount of Olbas Oil too.  The vapor also helps if you have a head cold too. Stay under there for as long as you can and inhale deeply. 

15. Take a hot bath

Taking a hot bath with a few drops of Olbas Oil will again with with your congestion.  Try ad take the bath as hot as you can to allow the steam to penetrate your nostrils.  

 with a cold

Things to do just before bed

It is important to try and stay relaxed as well as making your sleeping environment relaxing and comfortable before bed time.  There are things you can do such as using nasal strips, and essential oils to help you have a great night’s sleep.  

16. Take an antihistamine

Taking an antihistamine will give you relief from sneezing and a blocked nose and help you get some sleep.  You can get them from any drug stores.  As one of the side effects are drowsiness taking it before bed may help you get a good night’s sleep.  

17. Use essential oils 

Essential oils are great if you have congestion and you can mix them with several ones that help congestion and aid sleep.  For example tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory property while lavender will help aid sleep.  I have a great post on essential oils to help aid sleep and some other tips if you would like to read it here. 

You can use a diffuser to disperse the oils such as the one here

how to get asleep with the cold

18. Use a humidifier 

You can add moisture to the air when you are sleeping and it would help you breathe easier.  This is particularly helpful when you have the heating on and the dry air irritates your throat.  You can find a great selection of humidifier’s here

19. Keep your bedroom temperature down

Having your bedroom at a cool temperature will help you sleep better and help you relax more.  Also using blackout curtains will help keep light away while you try to rest.  

20. Use a nasal strip

If you want to improve your breathing you could opt to try nasal strips to help you keep your nose unblocked.  You can buy nasal strips on Amazon here if you would like to give them a try.

21. Apply a chest rub

As well as using essential oils in a diffuse you can use them to rub in your chest or put on a handy which will help you breath easily and sleep better.  

I would highly recommend eucalyptus or peppermint but don’t put directly on to your skin if you haven’t tested them, instead place on your pillow if you aren’t sure.  You cold also try a vapor chest rub which contains menthol also. 

22. Elevate your head

Propping your head up during a cold will help drain mucus and will also relieve any pressure you are experiencing.  You could use an extra pillow or a wedge pillow. 

I hope these tips will help you get a great night’s sleep even with the cold.  I also find that fresh air during the day will help you get to sleep too.  It is tough getting outside when you feel so lousy but it will be great for you.  Let me know how you get on.

Happy dreaming.

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