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4 Tips for Better Sleep When You’re Sick

Posted: March 23, 2017

Getting through the day is rough when you’re feeling under the weather, but even the sweet relief of sleep can be out of your grasp when you can’t stop sneezing and coughing. These simple tips allow you to take a more proactive approach to ensure a better night’s sleep through cold, flu and allergy symptoms.

Shower Before Bed

Showering while you’re sick can help you feel more like yourself, but there’s more benefit to it than just that. Saving your shower for just before bedtime can actually relieve some of your symptoms and help you drift off faster. The steamy air inside your shower can actually help loosen up the mucus in your chest and sinuses, which may make it easier to clear out some of that pesky congestion before you turn in for the night. This will make breathing much easier so you can establish a comfortable rhythm and fall asleep. Alternatively, you can use a humidifier near your bed to get a similar effect.

Elevate Your Head

There’s a simple logic behind this idea - mucus builds up in your sinuses and chest if you lie flat for an extended period of time, which is part of the reason why you wake up feeling so stuffy and gross in the morning when you’re sick. Propping up your head as you sleep can actually counteract this undesirable mucus pooling effect, which can not only keep you from coughing and needing to blow your nose in the middle of the night but also help you feel better when you wake up in the morning. Build up a nice layer of pillows to support your upper back, shoulders, neck and head in a comfortable nest of congestion-fighting support.

Keep Tissues and Water Nearby

It’s easy to forget small details like this when you’re under the weather, but waking up with a coughing fit in the middle of the night is a lot easier to deal with quickly and move past if you have a glass of water right there on your nightstand. Similarly, having tissues within reach can allow you to blow your nose if you need to without waking all the way up. You might even want to keep some cough drops on your bedside table so you can be ready for just about anything in the middle of the night. If you can solve these problems without moving much, you’ll be able to fall asleep faster and get the rest you need.

Take the Right Medication

You can give these simple tips an extra boost by taking the right nighttime cough medicine. Look for a medication without a lot of additives that takes a multi-symptom approach to your cold and flu symptoms. That means your nighttime cold meds should include fever reducer, pain relief, cough suppressant, congestion relief and some sleep aid so you can feel comfortable enough to get some rest. Follow the package directions on your medication and be sure to get in touch with your doctor if you’re sick for more than a week or if your fever gets worse.