Sleeping with the Sniffles: How to Snooze with a Cold

The summer cold catches the best of us off-guard. Is there anything worse than feeling stuffed up and suffering from a headache in a heat wave? If getting through the day with a cold is a challenge, then trying to sleep during the night is full-out competition. Before going into a panic, let’s look at some options for gaining some relief from your runny nose and heavy head, at least while you sleep. Before addressing the cold with the usual methods, make sure your bedding and room atmosphere hasn’t changed. Allergies can worsen with the symptoms of a cold, so make sure your mattress is up to par. Green bedding can help with this problem and can be the first step in feeling and sleeping better. The atmosphere can make all the difference when you’re not feeling good. Make sure your room is cool and dark and your covers are light. These adjustments will help reduce the number of times you wake up during the night. A body pillow can help to keep your body more comfortable. Elevate your head with pillows to ease sinus pressure and congestion.

According to WebMD, some of the cold medicines we take for relief during the day can negatively affect us during the night. Everyone reacts to cold medicines differently and while for some people, sleepiness will be brought on, others will feel jittery and nervous, preventing sleep altogether.

The worst offender of the jitters is the decongestant pseudoephedrine which is normally found in cold pills and cough medicines. Another common ingredient is diphenhydramine which is found in Benadryl and other cold and allergy drugs. While some people swear by the drowsing effect of Benadryl, others feel strange and foggy but definitely not sleepy. Nicholas Popovich, PhD, professor of pharmacy administration and department head at the University of Chicago at Illinois College of Pharmacy states it’s best to avoid these drugs after 6:00 p.m. if you’re unsure how you will react to them, especially if you have to be at work in the morning.

If you are one of the unfortunate souls who feels the jitters from cold medicine, don’t give up hope yet. There are other options for relief before bed, the first being nose sprays that help with congestion. External nasal strips can also help with sleeping throughout the night.

Nyquil and other liquid cold medicines that promise nighttime relief aren’t recommended by experts due to their alcohol content. While they’ll help you to fall asleep faster, they prevent you from getting that deep sleep that is needed when you have a cold. After you’ve taken these cold medicines you might notice that you wake up more often throughout the night and wake up feeling especially groggy in the morning.

Always remember, a cold doesn’t last forever and sooner rather than later, you’ll be feeling like new again. A good night of sleep can make the worst cold seem like nothing more than a bad dream.

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Amber Merton

Amber Merton writes exensively regarding green living and sleep. She has been an author on the PlushBeds blog for the past 7 years.

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