How to Sleep with a Cough or Cold

cat on a bed

Getting to sleep when you have a cold or a cough can be extremely hard. Easy breathing is important when it comes to drifting off, and your body also needs to be at the right temperature to be able to fall asleep quickly.

So, if you’ve caught a cough or cold, what can you do to make sure it doesn’t impact your sleep? Here is a little checklist on how you can improve your night’s sleep when you or your child is under the weather:

  1. Sleeping Positions

Did you know that your sleeping position can make a big difference when you have a cough or cold?

Front and back sleepers struggle more when they have a cold as it affects their breathing. Sleeping on your front can restrict your airways, while sleeping on your back can worsen your congestion.

The best sleeping position to avoid these issues is on your side. While this may not be the comfiest for those used to sleeping on their back or front, it will regulate your breathing and ensure that your congestion doesn’t feel worse than it is.

  1. Drinking and Eating Right

There are some foods and drinks that should really be avoided a couple of hours before bed. One example is alcohol. While alcohol can help you fall asleep quicker initially, it is likely to lead to bad quality sleep. Drinking alcohol before bed can leave you feeling dehydrated and can swell your sinuses as it triggers the expansion of blood cells in the body.

There are plenty of foods that you should and shouldn’t eat when you have a cold. Some particularly good foods to eat more of are soup and garlic – and you should definitely be drinking plenty of water.

When it comes to foods to avoid, cheese isn’t the only one. Check out this Happy Beds blog for a list of foods that might be hampering your sleep.

  1. Changing Bed Sheets More Often

There is nothing better than snuggling into clean, fresh sheets, even more so when you’re unwell.

Naturally, you’re going to spend more time in bed when you’re ill, and this means you will probably be sweating more. Changing your bed more frequently than normal is important, to make sure there isn’t a build up of germs and sweat. Also, if you’re sharing a bed with someone else, then changing the sheets more could help prevent them getting the same virus that you have.

  1. Stick to a Routine

According to research by the University of California, you are three times more likely to get sick again with a new cold if you’re not getting enough sleep. So, while it’s definitely harder to get to sleep when you’re feeling unwell, try and stick to the same routine. Go to bed the same time as normal and stick to your standard sleeping pattern.

If you’ve tried this for a few nights and it isn’t working, then head up to bed a little earlier than normal. This way, it will give you longer to try and relax and drift off.

  1. Soothe Your Throat

Making a hot drink (without sugar and caffeine) before bed can help when you have a cold, as the steam will help decongest your sinuses, making it easier to breathe throughout the night.

Honey, lemon and cough sweets are also good options too, as they will help sooth your throat. Taking a hot lemon water to bed with you will help, as it will help you sweat the virus out while you’re in a thick duvet.


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