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How To Sleep With a Cold

The chillier weather is setting in and that can only mean one thing. Cold and flu season is here. Sleeping with a cold is a challenge – from the stuffy nose to the continual coughing and sneezing – it can seem like there are no end of symptoms that make it difficult to get to sleep. Of course, sleep is central to helping you recover and get back to full health sooner. So here are our top tips for how to sleep with a cold.

How to sleep with a blocked nose

Struggling with a blocked nose at night? The congestion caused by cold and flu viruses can make it difficult to breathe.

Is it a cold? Or an allergy?

So how to relieve a stuffy nose? The first step is to find the cause, which can be a little more complicated than you might think at first. If you experience a blocked nose only at night, then it might not be a virus that’s causing the problem.

One of the most common causes of sneezing and other sinus problems at night is dust mite allergy. These tiny creatures thrive in the humid atmosphere created by synthetic and feather-filled bedding. But because you mostly spend time in your bedroom at night, this is when you experience the symptoms. That’s why many people are unaware that they suffer with a dust mite allergy.

If you are only experiencing your symptoms at night, an allergy may be the cause. In which case, the best solution is to create a dust mite deterring sleeping environment:
  • Switch to wool bedding: Unlike synthetic or feather/down alternatives, wool-filled bedding stays cool and dry – the complete opposite of the environment dust mites need to survive. This makes wool duvets, pillows and mattresses the ideal solution to combat dust mite allergy. Learn more about the use of wool in hypoallergenic bedding.
  • Change the curtains: Just like your bedding, the material for your curtains matters. Change synthetic materials such as polyester for cotton, linen or wool alternatives.
  • Replace synthetic carpets: Change synthetic carpets for natural all-wool alternatives which, just like wool duvets and mattresses, provide an environment in which dust mites can’t thrive.

How to sleep with a stuffy nose caused by a cold or virus

If your blocked nose is caused by a cold or flu virus, the following steps can help to provide relief:
  • Use a menthol rub to ease symptoms: While these traditional remedies don’t actively reduce nasal congestion, the powerful menthol scent helps to create a sensation of breathing more clearly, providing temporary relief to help you settle. Some people also find the soothing scent helps them drift off.
  • Take a decongestant medication before bed: This takes some planning, so that you can take your medication at regular intervals and have your last dose at bedtime. But it will also help you to get the maximum relief and better quality sleep. Speak with your pharmacist or GP to get advice on the best decongestant medication for you, and of course, always read and follow the instructions on your chosen medication to make sure that it’s suitable for taking before bed.

How to sleep with a fever or a chill

Along with all the other symptoms we have to contend with, feeling hot one minute, then cold the next is no fun at all. Whether you’re struggling to sleep because you’re running a temperature or suffering with a chill, there are a number of steps you can take.
  • Keep a cool (or warm) drink to hand: If you’re feeling overheated, keep a cool drink by the side of your bed. If on the other hand you’re feeling the chill, make up a warm flask of honey and lemon to keep sipping at when you wake.
  • Choose temperature-regulating bedding: It’s a little-known fact that certain types of bedding can help to regulate your body temperature much more effectively than others. Most effective of all is wool bedding, which is proven to keep you cool when you’re hot and warm when you’re not – making it the ideal option for fluctuating body temperatures. It also helps to draw moisture away from the body if you’re experiencing excessive sweating, keeping you cool and dry rather than clammy.
  • Sleep in natural nightwear: Harness the naturally breathable qualities of cotton and silk to help you stay comfy, not clammy.
  • Layer up: Really need an extra layer? Choose a natural wool blanket that can easily be pulled on or off the bed throughout the night as your temperature changes.

Hopefully, these tips have helped you to learn how to sleep better with a cold. Discover more top tips and advice in our Sleep Health Hub.

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