How to sleep with a cold
Guides,  How To

How To Sleep With A Cold – The Lowdown.


Ahhh the common cold. The thing which there is no cure. How I hate you! When sick, all we want to do is sleep. But often it is very difficult. How do we sleep with a cold? It’s a tough question.

The winter months are fast approaching and this is the time when cold, flu and other pesky viruses and infections take hold of the nation.

I am a terrible flu sufferer. I just can’t function when I’m ill. I stay in bed and do quite a lot of sulking.

If you are one of the unlucky ones and are currently suffering from a cold or the flu, then my heart goes out to you. Hopefully, you are on the mend. But if not, do not worry! I am here on my quest to guide you on how to sleep with a cold.


Explore over the counter remedies

If you are feeling like a cold is about to take hold of you, the aches and pains, the sniffles, then now may be the time to head to the pharmacy and try some remedies. Always be sure to read the dosages and contents of any remedies you take over the counter. Your local pharmacy will have more advice for you. Getting the right symptom reliever for your illness could be the difference between a good nights rest or 8 hours of tossing and turning with a tickly cough. A good remedy can quiet your cough, clear your sinuses and reduce fever.

Nasal spray decongestion

One of the big benefits of nasal spray decongestant is it gives relief to your blocked nose and sore throat. It does all this without the extreme side effects of oral medicine.

Another reason nasal sprays are so awesome is that the relief they give is instant, compared to the much slower acting oral medicines and tablets.

Nasal Strips

Nasal strips are not very expensive at all, effective and as an added bonus they are also drug-free. It is basically a simple sticky strip that you can place on the bridge of your nose. It works by lifting the tissue in your nostril cavity, making them wider and therefore making it easier to breathe.

These strips became popular recently because they also have an added effect of preventing snoring. So all you suffering partners out there, take note!

Pain Relievers

ESpecially for fevers and migraines, pain relievers such as aspirin and paracetamol can provide much need relief. But as stated at the top of this article, always check the labels and ensure you take the day formula for day and the night formula for night

Cough Syrup

Coughing is a painful experience and is one of the main reasons why colds keep us awake at night. Especially if you have a dry cough, then cough syrups can be a huge help when thinking how to sleep with a cold.

Again always check the label and follow instructions carefully.

Take a hot steam shower.

A hot shower is well known to aid relaxation when full of a cold. The heat from the water relaxes your muscles and gets the body prepared for sleep. The steam from the shower will also help with your blocked stuffy nose, allowing you to breathe better.

Create an optimal sleep environment

Humidifier and temperature

The environment in which you sleep has a massive effect on your ability to drift on soundly and stay resting. An air humidifier is good for creating a cold friendly bedroom by keeping the ait moist and preventing your nose and throat from drying out overnight. A regular error cold sufferers make when going to sleep is that they turn up the temperature in their rooms. In fact, the opposite is much better for a cold and having the room at around 17/18 degrees is best when thinking about how to sleep with a cold.

Light levels

It is essential that your room is as dark as possible when attempting to sleep. Blackout blinds are good for keeping out any street lights that may be sneaking into your room. If your room is anything but pitch back, then it can disturb your internal body clock and your brain could tell your body its time to wake up in the middle of the night.

Saline spray

Saline spray how to sleep with a cold
A neti pot.

Salty water has a cleansing effect on the nose and sinuses. It’s great because it can be homemade, is cheap to make and will help kill any sickness causing bacteria. The best way to use saltwater to sleep better with a cold is to use a net pot, which is basically a tiny teapot. The way to use it is to tilt your head to the side and put the spout up one nostril. It will feel pretty strange at first but you will get used to it. Make sure you do this over a sink. Then watch the results as your nostrils are cleared of all the junk that has built up in the during your cold.

Here is how to make the saline solution.

  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 250 ml of warm water (distilled or pre-boiled then cooled to room temperature)

Menthol Gel

We all remember our parents slapping lots of this stuff on our chest when we are sick. It has such a distinctive smell and cleanses your nose almost instantly. It means that you can breathe much easier when sleeping and when awake. As an added bonus it has a cooling effect that is soothing for fevers that may be associated with cold and flu.

Stay hydrated

Drinking enough water when you are ill is vitally important. Staying hydrated helps your body fight the cold and will aid you in getting rest. Stay away from caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee and if you absolutely must drink a hot drink, stay to the decaffeinated kinds. Hot drinks do provide some relief to runny noses though. So there is that benefit.

Sleep in a good position

Professionals suggest that some sleeping positions are better than others when you are sick. If possible, try to avoid sleeping on your back, as it can make throat and nasal congestion even worse. Sleeping on your side is said to be best, with your head propped up on pillows so that you are at a slight angle when sleeping. This helps prevent congestion.

Final thoughts

If all else fails, please don’t fret too much. I know a cold is not pleasant at all, but you will get better. In general, the common cold lasts a week or two. Especially if you take steps to help them on their way.

The best cure, in this case, is prevention altogether. Take steps to avoid getting sick in the first place.

  • Use hand sanitizer in public places. Often these days there is hand sanitizer provided in many public areas such as hospital and shopping markets to name a few.
  • If a family member or friends is sick, try your best to not come into direct contact with them for a few days. They will understand.
  • Always get enough rest. If the body does not get enough sleep, its immune system will be weakened. This means that it is much easier for a cold to take hold and much harder for your body to fight back.

How To Sleep With a Cold – Frequently Asked Questions.

What is the best sleeping position if I have congestion or a runny nose.

Back sleeping is very much not recommended when it comes to sleeping with a cold. First off, it causes snoring which aggravates the sinuses. The best way to sleep is on your side, with a pillow under your head to angle your head slightly upwards. This automatically drains your nasal passages when they are blocked.

Why is sleeping with a cold worse at night time?

The answer to this is it’s your hormones fault. During the day our regulatory systems keep balanced levels of melatonin and cortisol.

We know that melatonin is a sleep hormone and cortisol is linked to stress levels. It also is connected to fighting infections. Therefore during the night, when melatonin levels rise to prepare us for sleep, it causes the opposite to happen with the cortisol levels and they drop. This reduces the effect of cortisol in fighting the infection and makes the symptoms flare-up.

Why can’t I sleep when sick?

Even when super tired, sleep may be lacking when you are sick. The best advice is to encourage your body to sleep using many of the methods above. If you feel like your lack of sleep is becoming chronic, then you should definitely go to see a health professional. It is always better safe than sorry.

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My name is Matt and I am mad about sleep. I created ‘The Rest Investor’ from a belief that Britons just aren’t getting enough sleep. It’s becoming a national crisis.

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