Ways to get a good night’s rest when you have a cold

With symptoms that make it difficult to sleep or even lie down horizontal, good quality sleep may seem almost impossible when you have a cold. It can be difficult to breathe through a blocked nose, and you can be kept awake with the coughs and muscular aches and pains. As much as it may seem that sleep is something that cannot happen while you have a cold, it is essential for the body to be able to rest and recuperate to assist the body’s healing process.

Here are some suggestions to help you to get a good night’s rest when you have a cold.

1. Have a warm drink
Pour yourself a warm drink before you go to bed. Sipping on a warm drink may assist to loosen phlegm and congestion as you drink it, and it can soothe a sore throat. Go for a non-caffeinated option though, as having a drink like a coffee could help you to stay awake instead of sending you off to sleep. Good herbal teas without caffeine can include mint, ginger, peppermint or chamomile. Aim to have the drink finished at least an hour to an hour-and-a-half before you go to bed so that you aren’t woken up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom! 

2. Try a nasal decongestant
Nasal decongestants can assist you to sleep easier when you have a cold by reducing the swollen tissues in your nasal passages, which could decrease the production of mucus. This can result in having to spend less time blowing your nose and more time sleeping. Nasal decongestants come in a few forms, the most common are tablets, drops or nasal sprays - of which many can be attained over-the-counter from pharmacies. 

3. Gargle with salty water
Gargling with a saline solution or salty water may assist with soothing a sore throat. This is definitely a lower-cost option to try out if having a budget for your treatment is a concern. You can try this method by mixing a small amount of table salt with some fresh, clean water. Dissolve the salt into the water by stirring it, and when it is dissolved, gargle the mixture and spit it out into the sink when completed. Ensure that you have the necessary assistance or supervision to gargle if needed. It is not recommended that you swallow the saline water after you have completed gargling.

4. Pile up your pillows
Having your head slightly more elevated than the rest of your body may assist you to sleep better. Add in another pillow to your normal sleeping arrangements - placing it underneath your head. Elevating this part of your body may assist with the draining of mucus - and may help to prevent the build-up of congestion. There is no need to be sitting up straight, as this may prevent you from sleeping well and could lead to straining your neck. 

5. Take a warm shower
Having a warming shower before going to bed may assist to open up your air passages and lessen the pains associated with having a cold. Breathing in the steam created during your shower could loosen up the mucus, helping you to be able to breathe better. Keep the water warm, but not scorching. 

Overall, being able to rest the body is one of the best ways to assist it to heal from a cold. Resting in a way in which you are able to sleep easily can help your healing process.