Let’s face it, folks: sometimes when you’re feeling sick, a good night’s rest just isn’t forthcoming.
What’s up with that, anyway? It should be the exact opposite. Being sick should make you want to stay in bed longer, too groggy to move, sleeping as much as you can to replenish and rejuvenate your world weary soul.
But no. No, trying to sleep while you’re sick is a lot like trying to run a triathlon when you haven’t slept a wink in 48 hours. In other words, it feels impossible.
So how does one manage to get to sleep while they have the cold or the flu without being up half the night trying to figure out how to do so, rearranging their pillows over and over again?
We’ve decided to look more closely into the matter and see what vast array of helpful solutions we could find in order to help you save time and catch more precious Zs while you’re at it.
Here are 5 tips to help you sleep better when you have a cold.
Read on and rest up!
Drink something before bed (but not alcohol)
This may sound like a given, but drinking a soothing drink before you go to sleep when you’re feeling under the weather is a go-to fix for flu-related sleep disruption. You’ve heard of drinking chamomile tea, green tea, or some other flavor of tea just to help you find that precious boarding pass for the sleep train.
But have you ever heard of drinking Ovaltine?
You heard that right, folks: be sure to drink your Ovaltine. Strangely enough, this piece of advice isn’t just an ironic gag found in the classic holiday film The Christmas Story, it’s also helpful when you want to get to sleep when you’re sick. The magnesium in Ovaltine combined with its high caloric content will help you make your appointment with the Sandman sooner rather than later. If you don’t have any Ovaltine handy, you can always resort to using hot chocolate instead.
And, like the heading of this particular list entry says, don’t drink alcohol before bed if you’re sick. Not only will it dehydrate you, it’ll complicate symptoms of your cold or flu and make your sinuses all swelled up. Not worth it.
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Elevate your head when lying down
When you’re in bed, you’re horizontal, which means all of the congested ickiness that’s happening within your sinuses is going to make you even more stuffed up, causing sore throats and heavy coughing galore.
This is why you should set up plenty of pillows underneath your head and neck so you can avoid this pitfall of sleeping when influenza-ed.
Try a nasal decongestant
Speaking of which, the benefits of using a nasal spray decongestant to clear out your sinuses before you drift off to sleep are many.
Using a nasal decongestant -- or a saline nasal spray made of salt water -- won’t have a detrimental effect on your ability to sleep. In fact, it will irrigate your clogged up nose and make breathing through it a whole lot easier. Obviously, this means that you’ll get better sleep as a result. Why not go for it?
Take a hot shower
What better way to clear your head and relax your body than with a hot shower? Shower steam has been proven to be a great, natural way to alleviate congestion. All you have to do is walk in, stand up, let the water pour over you, and slowly inhale the vapors as they drift up into your breathing passages.
If you want an extra boost, try using essential oils, like lavender or eucalyptus, to cut through the rest of the blockages that the steam can’t get to. Plus, after you’re done with the shower, your body’s temperature will drop, which helps you relax and get into sleep mode more quickly.
Eat Chicken Soup for dinner
Yes, it’s cliche. But this tried and true piece of advice on how to minimize physical side effects of having a cold or the flu is ubiquitous and run into the ground for a darn good reason: it works.
Homemade or canned, chicken noodle soup has anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe your body and help it switch gears into healing mode. If you’re looking for something a little bit less Americanized, order takeout, like Tom Yum soup from your local Thai restaurant, or Pho from a Vietnamese place nearby. (If you have those things where you live, that is.)
We hope that these helpful tips on how to get to sleep when you’re not feeling so great have been somewhat helpful. If not, try to listen to your body and see what would make it feel more comfortable and ready to rest might be.
But whatever you do, you must keep this word of wisdom in mind at all times: be sure to drink your Ovaltine. Goodnight, folks!