In order to recover from a cold more quickly, your body needs plenty of recuperative rest. This can be much easier said than done. Going about your normal routine all day with a cold is already quite exhaustive, but often when you are ready to get a good night’s sleep, sleep does not come. Sleeping with a cold can feel next to impossible if your nasal passages are blocked and you cannot breathe normally. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can improve your ability to breathe during a cold, allowing for better sleep.
Elevate your head and neck
By elevating the top portion of your body slightly, you can reduce the blood flow in the head. This can help lessen the inflammation causing the sinuses to be restricted. It is important to elevate both the head and neck in a way that does not require your neck to be bent. If you simply prop your head up using a mountain of pillows, your neck will be bent, which can make it harder to breathe and cause soreness.
A good way to achieve the elevation you need is to raise the end of the mattress, or the end of the bed, that is under your head. You do not need to make the elevation so steep that the bed becomes dangerous. A few inches are enough to make a difference.
Clear the Sinuses with Steam Before Bed
Steam and humidity can help reduce congestion by causing the lining of the passages to constrict and the sinuses to drain. There are many ways that you can achieve this affect:
- Take a hot shower
- Eat a bowl of hot soup
- Sip from a cup of hot tea or decaffeinated coffee
Any method of introducing steam to the nasal passages will result in a relief of stuffy cold symptoms. Implementing these methods just before you are ready to go to bed may relieve your cold symptoms long enough for your to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Encourage Good Sleeping Habits
Having good sleep habits are important whether or not you are suffering from a cold, but can make a big difference when sleep is more challenging. The first step is to avoid bad habits that can discourage sleep such as watching TV in bed or drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages at night.
The best way to develop good and healthy sleep habits is to develop a routine or schedule. Regardless of whether you have appointments or obligations at a set time, designate a reasonably early time that you will always get up in the morning, and a set bedtime as well. If you stick to this set schedule long enough, your body will respond and grow accustomed to the schedule. Your body will grow into a habit of falling to sleep at a regular time. This will increase your chances of being able to go to sleep at your intended bedtime, even if you are suffering from a cold.
Using Cold Remedy Products
There are plenty of great cold related products that are designed to make sleeping easier, aside from sleep inducing medications. These include:
- Nasal Strips – These are adhesive strips that are applied to the nose that pull outward slightly in order to gently enable to nasal passages to open.
- Nasal Sprays – A saline spray can be used to rinse out the nasal passages in order to open them. It is essential that you use these products as directed.
- Mentholated Gel – While these gels do not actually clear the nasal passages, the cooling affect achieved from their application helps people feel more relaxed and improves the ability to rest with a cold.