Suffering the symptoms of a cold is bad enough by day. At night, it can be worse. Blocked sinuses can make it so hard to breathe that you spend all night in a misery of tossing and turning.
WebMD asked cold and sleep experts around the country for advice on how to breathe easier at night while you’re fighting a cold. Their six tips could ease your symptoms and help you sleep. Plus, they just might help you get well a little sooner.
Holiday season is upon us again. As you send out the invitations and plan the menu for your holiday party, remember that there is one guest you definitely do not want on your guest list: swine flu.
You might have considered canceling your holiday festivities out of fear of H1N1. However, our flu etiquette experts say that if you're still going about your regular business -- going to work, movies, and religious services -- there is no reason to cancel your holiday plans.
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Applied externally to the middle of the nose, nasal strips have an adhesive on one side. "They’re really quite remarkable,” says David Neubauer, MD, associate director of the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center in Baltimore.
Choose the appropriate size (small, medium, or large) and wash and dry your face before applying.
2. Take a Hot Shower Before Bed
The steam and humidity of a shower cause sinuses to drain and the lining of the nasal passages to constrict, relieving some of the stuffiness of a cold. You can achieve the same effect by sipping a cup of hot tea or having a bowl of piping hot soup.
Chicken soup, the age-old cold remedy, may indeed have special benefits. When researchers at Mount Sinai Medical Center tested the venerable cold prescription in 15 cold sufferers, chicken soup proved more effective than plain hot water in clearing out sinuses.
Avoid drinking cold beverages near bedtime, however. The same study showed that they may increase congestion.
3. Use a Saline Rinse
One of the safest ways to unblock congested sinuses and get a good night’s sleep is to use a saline rinse, in either a spray bottle or a neti pot. A neti pot is a small container with a narrow spout that’s used to pour small amounts of saline rinse into the nostrils. The saltwater washes mucus and irritants from your nose and helps the cells that move the mucus.
It's important, according to the CDC, that if you irrigate, flush, or rinse your sinuses, you use distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water to make up the irrigation solution. It’s also important to rinse the irrigation device after each use and leave it open to air-dry.