Sleeping With A Cold

October 02, 2019 4 min read

Sleeping With A Cold

Written by Emily Palmer - 

Emily Palmer is a caffeinated blogger who loves talking Decorating, Travel, Yoga, Parenting, Self Development, and more. She can be reached at twitter if you can’t find her at the local café. 

School, work, social activities, and even the grocery store can be a breeding ground for colds. You can pick up a cold almost anywhere at any time. When that happens, the symptoms can make you miserable. Since a cold is a virus, you basically have to let it run its course and treat the symptoms as best you can.

If you find yourself battling a cold, you may find sleeping is a challenge! You may feel that even if you can easily fall asleep, staying asleep can be an issue. Between pressure in your head, difficulty breathing, and coughing or sneezing, sleep may seem like a distant, elusive dream. You may wonder how you will ever get a decent night’s sleep while you are dealing with a cold. Here are some tips for getting sleep while fighting a cold.
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Prop up your head.

When you are dealing with cold symptoms, the pressure in your head can be nearly unbearable. When that’s the case, gravity is your friend. Propping yourself on a pillow, or even sitting in a recliner while trying to sleep allows for your sinus cavity to drain which relieves pressure in your face and head. Additionally, having your head propped can help keep postnasal drip from settling in your throat and potentially causing not only a sore throat but also an annoying cough. If simply propping your head on pillows doesn’t help, you could consider raising your headboard of your bed several inches from the floor.

Drink something hot.

Drinking something hot can help you to get more restful sleep. The steam from a hot drink can help to open your nasal passages which will make it easier for you to breathe. Not only that, but the heat from the drink can soothe a throat. 

If you choose a drink like hot chocolate, or another high calorie beverage, the calories can help your body enter a more restful sleep mode. Drinking hot tea with honey can both soothe your throat and work as a cough suppressant.

Image Use a humidifier or a vaporizer.

If the air inside your house is too dry, your cold symptoms could get worse. To help alleviate that problem, use a humidifier or vaporizer to keep the air moist.

If you choose this option, make sure you keep the machine well cleaned and maintained. A dirty humidifier or vaporizer can exacerbate the problem by releasing mold or other contaminants into your atmosphere.


Stay hydrated.

When your throat is sore, you don’t really want to eat or drink anything. It’s important to make sure you stay hydrated when you have cold symptoms. 

You don’t have to increase your fluid intake, but you do need to make sure you are getting enough fluids. Try hot beverages to soothe your throat, or if cold sounds more palatable, try something with lots of ice.

Keep the house at a steady temperature.

When you have a cold, you might have an urge to turn up your heat. Don’t! Maintaining a consistent, pleasant temperature will help to keep the air around you from becoming too dry. Dry air can make your cold symptoms worse.

Stay hydrated.

When your throat is sore, you don’t really want to eat or drink anything. It’s important to make sure you stay hydrated when you have cold symptoms. 

You don’t have to increase your fluid intake, but you do need to make sure you are getting enough fluids. Try hot beverages to soothe your throat, or if cold sounds more palatable, try something with lots of ice.

Image Take a hot shower.

When you have a cold, steam can help to open your nasal passages. Try taking a nice, hot shower. Taking your shower close to bedtime has the added benefit of being relaxing, so sleep is less elusive.

Avoid alcohol.

While alcohol can make you sleepy, it can also cause issues when you are battling a cold. First, it can dry out your system and make your sinus cavity swell. 

Second, it can cause you to wake up more during the night. Last, but definitely not least, alcohol can interact negatively with any medications you may have taken.


Maintain your regular sleep routine.

You are more likely to go to sleep easily if you continue with your usual bedtime routine. Going to bed at the same time as you usually do will signal to your body that it’s time for rest. 

Additionally, sticking with a sleep routine, with or without a cold, can help to keep you well when you are exposed to a cold again.

Sleep alone.

When you have a cold, you may toss and turn a lot, or you may cough or sneeze and wake your partner. Not to mention, you don’t want to spread the virus to others if you can avoid it. For those reasons, it may be a good idea to sleep on your own until your symptoms are gone.

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Try cold medicines.

When your symptoms seem uncontrollable, it may be time to purchase something over the counter to help you. Make sure you match your symptoms to the medicine exactly. If you don’t have a cough, don’t buy a cough suppressant! 

When choosing medication, also make sure you are taking the appropriate type for the time of day you need it. Don’t take medications that are labelled “daytime” at night, for example. Also, make sure you are taking the appropriate dosage at the appropriate times. If in doubt about what to take, consult your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Don’t try too hard to sleep.

If you’ve tried everything you can think of, and you still aren’t falling asleep, don’t keep lying there. Get up. Try reading or some other relaxing activity for a little while. When you start to feel sleepy, try again.

Final thoughts.

When you have a cold, it can be difficult to get appropriate rest. Trying some, or all of these tips may help to make the process a little easier. Treat your symptoms, and let the virus run its course. Most of all, try to avoid sharing the sickness with anyone else.


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