Sore throat. Stuffy and runny nose. Dry cough. When you’re sick with a cold and flu, all you want to do is crawl into bed and sleep for a week or two. But your pesky symptoms make it impossible to rest easy. When bedtime finally rolls around, you actually feel worse than you did during the day.
To help you stop tossing and turning throughout the night, we have compiled seven natural tips aimed at helping you get a restorative night’s sleep – so you can put that cold and flu to bed once and for all.
1. Rinse away congestion. Wash away any irritants that are interfering with your breathing by doing regular nasal rinses. Flushing the nasal cavity and sinuses with salt water helps to remove dirt, airborne allergens, and pollutants, and can loosen and thin mucus, making it easier to expel.1
2. Darken your bedroom. It’s important to create a healthy environment that promotes quality sleep, and you can start by turning down the lights. The dim lighting signals to your body that bedtime is approaching so your brain starts getting ready for sleep. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet until you get enough sleep, and if you have a brightly illuminated alarm clock, make sure it’s not facing you during the night.
3. Keep it cool. Make sure your bedroom temperature is nice and cool. When your body temperature drops, your brain goes into sleep mode. In fact, The National Sleep Foundation recommends that you keep your bedroom between 15.5º C and 19.4º C.
4. Take a hot shower. Before bed, muster the strength to take a hot shower. When you get out, the drop in body temperature helps prepare your brain for sleep.
5. Slip on socks. Put on a pair of comfy socks before you get into bed. According to a Swiss study, warming your feet helps your body relax and puts you in the snooze zone.2
6. Elevate your head. It’s been found that elevating your head more than 20° above the horizontal level can reduce nasal congestion and ease sinus pressure.3 Try propping yourself up with a few extra pillows or plump cushions for your sofa to make breathing less difficult.
7. Quiet your mind. Even when you’re exhausted and not feeling well, sometimes you can have a mental block that prevents you from falling asleep. Try to establish a relaxing bedtime routine to help you wind down before bedtime, with calming activities like meditation, reading, or listening to soothing music.
1. Whittaker, C. (2010) Allergic Rhinitis. SA Pharmaceutical Journal. pp. 34-42.
2. Krauchi, K., Cajochen, C., Werth, E., Wirz-Justice, A. (2002) Functional link between distal vasodilation and sleep-onset latency. American Journal of Pysiology. 278(3).
3. Rundcrantz, H. (1969) Postural variations on nasal patency. Acta otolaryngologica. 68: pp. 435-443.