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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

Cold Relief: 6 Sleep Tips to Help You Breathe Easier

Here's how to ease your symptoms, improve your sleep, and help yourself get well sooner.
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“Studies have shown that menthol doesn’t actually open up the airways,” Marple says. “Instead, the cooling sensation it causes makes people feel as if they’re breathing more freely. And let’s face it, that’s what’s important when you’re trying to treat the symptoms of a cold.”

6. Sleep on Schedule

“When cold symptoms make it tough to sleep, paying attention to the basic rules of good sleep hygiene is more important than ever,” Neubauer says.

By now most of us know the basics:

  • Go to bed and wake up on a regular schedule. (That way, when bedtime rolls around, you’re in the habit of going to sleep.)
  • Avoid stimulating beverages like caffeinated coffee or alcohol in the hours before going to sleep.
  • Reserve your bed for sleep, not a place to work, read, or watch TV.
  • And if you do find yourself tossing and turning, get out of bed (and the bedroom, if possible) so you don’t associate bed with insomnia. Do something that you find relaxing until you feel tired enough to go to sleep.

Good sleep hygiene can be as effective as prescription drugs in helping some people sleep, experts say.

Getting enough shut-eye may be especially critical during cold and flu season, according to a 2009 study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The researchers enlisted 153 volunteers who agreed to be quarantined and then exposed to the viruses that cause most colds. Those who slept less than 7 hours were almost three times more likely to develop colds than those who got 8 hours of sleep or more.

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Reviewed on October 03, 2013

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