Being sick can steal your sleep just when you need it the most. Even when you feel wiped out, it’s hard to get your zzzs when you’re congested. So use these tried-and-true tips to get back to the rest you need.
1. Hit the Shower
When you have a cold, your sinuses fill up with mucus, and that mucus makes it hard to breath. As a result, it’s hard to sleep. Instead of blowing your nose all night, take a hot shower or bath before you go to bed.
"The steam will help clear out your sinuses, and relieve your stuffy nose and congestion," says Jacques Carter, MD, an internal medicine specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston.
2. Coat Your Throat
Hot tea (decaf, of course) and honey are a great combination when you have a sore throat, Carter says. A cup before bed will bring temporary relief so you can fall asleep. Or try a honey cough drop to get the same result, but make sure you don’t slip into slumber with the drop still in your mouth.
3. Try a Saline Rinse
"Saline" just means salt water. These rinses can curb mucus, make it easier to breathe, and relieve a sore throat -- all good things when you’re ready for bed.
A neti pot is handy for giving your nose a good rinse. It looks like a small teakettle, but put the mug aside. The spout goes in your nostril to help wash the mucus out. If you don’t have a neti pot, a spray bottle will work as well.
4. Use a Vapor Rub
Just like your mom did when you were little, rub vapor on your chest and neck. And maybe put a little dab under your nose, Carter says. The rub can improve cough and congestion, which will help you settle down at night.
5. Banish Dry Air
A cool mist humidifier in your bedroom will help you breathe easier when you have a cold. Carter says a humidifier will also keep your throat from getting dry as you sleep, especially if you’re so congested you breathe through your mouth.