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There’s a good reason why you just want to sleep when you have a cold. Sleep helps the body prevent infections, fight inflammation, and stave off long-term illnesses. Unfortunately, it’s often difficult to get a good night’s sleep when you need it the most. Common cold symptoms such as sneezing, sinus congestion, sore throat, and coughing often seem to get worse at night, making it even harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Dealing with a cold is always unpleasant, but many people find that their symptoms seem to get worse in the evening. Lying down can increase nasal congestion, which often leads to mouth breathing. Mouth breathing, in turn, further irritates inflamed sinuses and throat tissues, causing cold sufferers to cough themselves awake.
Hormones like melatonin and cortisol also play a part in cold-related sleep disruption. While cortisol is commonly known as the “stress hormone,” it also helps fight infections like the cold virus. Cortisol levels tend to decrease as melatonin levels rise, causing symptoms to return in full force as you struggle to drift off.
Falling asleep might seem impossible when you’ve got a cold, but there are a few things you can do to avoid tossing and turning all night. Staying hydrated during the day, sticking to your usual bedtime routine, and maintaining a cool, stable room temperature can all make it easier to get some rest. Below, we’ve compiled a few more hints for getting a good night’s sleep while you’re feeling under the weather.
Be Prepared: The tips above can certainly help you fall asleep, but they’re no guarantee you’ll stay there. When you’ve got a cold, it’s not uncommon to wake up in the middle of the night with a runny nose or sore throat. However, keeping a few supplies at hand can help you get back to sleep much faster. Before you turn in for the night, stock your bedside table with handy items like tissues, a glass of water, or cough drops.
Sleep might not be able to cure the common cold, but it plays a crucial part in the recovery process. Few cold remedies are as important — or as effective — as a good night’s sleep. While the average cold lasts for up to ten days, you can quickly get back on the mend by applying the tips above.