I think most people will agree that one of the worst night's sleep you will have is the one that you try to have while you are battling a common cold or flu.
Stuffy noses, breathing difficulties, muscle aches, and sneezing all contribute to a restless night of tossing and turning, not to mention the many other cold symptoms. HOWEVER, there are ways to combat the cold and have a decent night's sleep regardless.
We're coming in with the tips for a quality kip, and giving you our best advice for how to sleep with a cold, and not just any sleep; a great one!
Have a Hot Shower Before Bed
While the feeling of being clean is always welcomed when you're ill, having a hot shower before bed offers numerous other benefits.
The steam of a hot running shower often helps to release any built-up mucus that may be blocking your sinuses, which will then open up your nasal passages and allow you to breathe easier throughout the night.
To reap the full benefits, have the water as hot as is comfortable and keep the bathroom door closed for full steam room effects. Or, if you don't fancy taking a shower, you can achieve similar benefits from lowering your head to hover over a sink filled with hot water.
Of course, a hot shower or bath at the end of the day will provide some general relaxation and help you to wind down before sinking into your bed.
Use a Decongestant Aid
Nasal decongestants help to open up your nasal passages and decrease the stuffy nose feeling, by slowing down the production of mucus.
Nasal decongestants come in the form of pills, nasal sprays or drops, so you can choose the application you prefer.
It's worth noting that prolonged use of decongestants can make your symptoms worse - try not to use nasal sprays for more than 3 days in a row, and we recommend not administering decongestants to young children under 3 years of age.
Raise Your Head While Sleeping
Another way to achieve a restful sleep while you're full of a common cold is to raise your head while you are resting. If you can raise the head of your bed, then that is ideal, but just sleeping with an extra pillow is also a perfect solution - not too many though, you don't want to damage your neck in the process.
Lying down might result in a faster build-up of mucus causing breathing difficulties or persistent coughing during the night. Having your head slightly tilted and sleeping on your side where possible can help to ease these symptoms and avoid disruption in the middle of the night.
Make a Saline Nasal Rinse
If you want a quick solution for loosening mucus, reducing congestion and making it easier to breathe, you can try making and using a saline nasal rinse.
Some people find the prospect of a nasal rinse a bit daunting, but they are fantastic for flushing your nasal passages and helping you to enjoy hours of sleep, even with a cold!
A saline solution is quick and easy to make, you will need 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in 230ml of warm, distilled and sterile water; add it to a spray bottle or nasal bulb and you're good to go.
Soothe Your Sore Throat
We've covered a few ways to confront the runny nose, but what about the inevitable sore throat and coughing that comes with a common cold.
Gargling with saltwater throughout the day and before bedtime is a great way to relieve a sore through and prevent any infection from worsening if there is an infection present.
If salt water doesn't sound too appealing, you can try over-the-counter throat lozenges, throat sprays and the trusted home comforts of hot chicken soup dinners and a cup of hot, honey and lemon tea.
Setting Up a Cosy Sleeping Environment
So, a dreamy bed setup isn't going to stop your runny nose, clear your sinuses or ease your cough, but, the psychological effects of being in a cosy environment might just help you drift off to sleep much easier.
Are you overdue for a new mattress? An old and sagging mattress will ruin a night's sleep even when you are fighting fit. If you have been pondering over a new memory foam mattress for a while, there is no time like the present!
Other ways to improve your sleeping environment to help you fall asleep easily with a cold include using essential oils with lavender or eucalyptus, having your bedroom at a slightly cooler temperature, setting the mood lighting and settling down to read a book if this is relaxing for you... Maybe even treat yourself to your favourite sweet treat in bed; we won't tell anybody if you don't!