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How To Sleep When You Have a Cold or Flu

Do you know how to sleep when you have a cold or the flu? It’s called the season of coughs and colds for a reason; and it can feel like everywhere you turn, you’re surrounded by sniffs, coughs and sneezes. But while cold and cough symptoms during the day are horrible, nothing compares to the misery of lying in bed unable to fall asleep, yet knowing that sleep is the one thing you need to put you on the road to recovery. So we’ve pulled together our best tips on sleeping with the flu, and how to sleep when you have a cold.

Are you sleeping with allergies?

First things first, do you have cold symptoms during the day, or could it be that it’s an allergy causing your stuffiness? One common cause of a blocked-up nose at night is a dust mite allergy. Dust mites are tiny creatures that live in your bedding and soft furnishings. They thrive in the kind of warm, damp conditions created by synthetic materials and down-filled bedding. It’s for this reason that you may only experience symptoms when you lay down at night to go to sleep. But sleeping with allergies is made much easier when you’re bedding down with naturally hypoallergenic, chemical free bedding.

How to sleep with a stuffy nose at night

Wondering how to sleep with a stuffy nose? Sleeping with allergies could be the underlying cause of a stuffy, tickly nose that plays up at night. So it’s important to remember that you need to create a sleeping environment that deters dust mites. Here’s some top tips on how to do that:
  • Choose wool bedding: While dust mites thrive in synthetic fibers, they’re not so keen on wool. Wool naturally stays cool and dry – exactly the opposite of the conditions they like. This means that wool comforters and pillows are ideal to ward off dust mites and give you a breath of fresh air while you sleep.
  • Change other soft furnishings in your bedroom: Unbeknown to many people, dust mites can also live and breed in carpets, curtains and other soft furnishings. By swapping these out for wool or non-synthetic alternatives, you can create a dust mite-free zone, leading to happier, healthier sleep.

How to get to sleep with a blocked nose If you’re sure your stuffy nose is caused by a virus rather than an allergy, there are plenty of things you can try to gain that much-needed relief:
  • Raise your head: Use an extra pillow to prop your head up a bit higher than normal. This allows your sinuses to drain, and should help prevent that horrid feeling of congestion around your eyes and ears. For a smaller child’s bed, you may find that it’s possible to prop the head of the bed up on blocks if the child is unable to sleep.
  • Use menthol rubs: Contrary to popular belief, a strong menthol scent cannot actually reduce nasal congestion, it merely gives you the feeling of breathing more clearly. But this can provide some temporary relief that may help you to fall asleep. There is an old wives’ tale that says you should apply menthol rub to the soles of your feet at night, and then sleep in socks to get rid of a chesty cough – we only have anecdotal evidence that it works, but it may be worth a try if you’re wondering how to sleep with a cold and cough.
  • Decongestant medicine: If you’re struggling to sleep with a blocked nose and it’s really getting you down, consider decongestant medicine to maximize your chance of getting a good night’s sleep. Check with your physician or chemist to get advice on the best options available, and always read the instructions on the box.

How to sleep with a fever

Sometimes it’s not necessarily that you’re too congested to sleep, as it could be the aches and pains and temperature fluctuations - caused by a nasty flu or cold. If you’re finding that you’re hot and clammy one minute and freezing cold the next, help is at hand:
  • Make sure you have plenty of layers available: If your temperature tends to fluctuate throughout the night, make an extra layer easily available that you can pull up and down as needed. For extra benefit and breathability choose an all-natural wool blanket.
  • Keep a cool drink beside your bed: If you’re struggling with high temperatures making you overheat, make sure you have a glass of chilled water by your bed. Sip it regularly to help cool you down - if nothing else, hydration is vital if you’re fighting a fever.
  • Choose thermo-regulating bedding: By choosing bedding that helps to keep you cool when you’re warm and warm when you’re cool, you’ll be much less affected by spiking temperatures overnight. Wool bedding does exactly this, helping to regulate your body temperature. It also has the added benefit that the natural fibers wick away moisture, keeping you drier and more comfortable even if your fever is causing excessive sweating.

What does sleep do for your immune system?

If sleeping with the flu is a struggle, it usually means that you’re missing out on that much needed rest. But why is sleep so good for fighting infection? When it comes to your health, sleep plays a crucial role, and skimping out on your sleep could impact your immune system. This in turn leaves you susceptible to colds, flu and other viral infections or viruses.

Missing out on a decent sleeping pattern means your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets inflammation and infection. This protein is only produced and released when you sleep, so it’s clear to see why getting the right amount of shut eye can really boost your immune system. Even if you do come down with a bad case of the sniffles – or even a more serious virus – you’ll be able to bounce back faster if you’re well rested.

For the ultimate healthy sleep, take a look at our range of organic, natural bedding, made with 100% British wool.

We hope these ideas have helped you learn how to sleep when you have a cold or the flu. For more sleep tips and advice on the best way to sleep with a cold, sleeping with allergies or hot sweats at night, visit our Sleep Health and Advice hub.