With colder weather, shorter days and lower temperatures, it’s that time of the year where the common cold (the rhinovirus) is everywhere. We’d all love to avoid getting it, but with the average adult catching a cold around 2-4 times a year, it is more than likely in the near future you may pick up a seasonal nasty. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to get good quality sleep as it helps you to build up the energy to fight off the virus and restore your immune system. However, despite rest being the best remedy, the symptoms of the common cold – from a runny nose to a sore throat and headache - can directly (and negatively) affect your ability to get to sleep, prolonging your symptoms.
Here at HÜGGE, we care about giving you a blissful and comfortable sleep, which is crucial when you have a cold! It’s worth noting that such bugs aren’t just a wintertime ailment, they can occur in the summer (mostly the enterovirus) and especially after stressful periods, such as the post-exam season – so check out our sleeping tips below, you can use them all-year-round!
Up your hot liquids intake
One of the best remedies to send you to the land of nod when you’re feeling under the weather is to embrace the power of herbal tea. As well as keeping you hydrated (avoid alcohol, caffeine and dairy during this period), hot liquids help to reduce the feeling of congestion and inflammation in your body, especially around your sinuses – clearing your head for an easier sleep. Our favourite is peppermint tea, which contains menthol – a natural decongestant.
In addition, chamomile tea contains anti-inflammatory properties, helping to reduce muscle aches and an upset stomach. Interestingly, chamomile is widely regarded as a ‘sleep tea’, and has long been used to treat insomnia with its natural sedative and calming properties. Have a cup 30 minutes before your bedtime and sprinkle some lavender oil on your pillows for a soothing sleep!
Take a hot bath or steamy shower
Whether it’s a long soak in a warm bath or a quick power shower, immersing yourself in a steamy environment helps to open up your airways and reduce the congestion you face when fighting a cold. A quick tip when taking a shower - sprinkle a few drops of Olbas oil on the shower floor and feel the benefit of the decongesting vapour rising to help clear your blocked nose! The moist air will encourage drainage of mucus formed by viruses and make breathing much easier.
Invest in a bedroom humidifier
After you’ve prepared your body for a good night’s sleep, it’s important that you don’t let good work go to waste by allowing your sleeping environment to negate your recovery. It may be tempting to raise the temperature in your bedroom, but this can lead to air losing its moisture. Resultantly, dry air can irritate your nose and throat, meaning that you may wake up feeling worse than when you went to bed!
Therefore, it is worth investing in a simple humidifier that will help regulate your bedroom’s moisture levels, helping you to feel less blocked up, breathe easier and limit sleep interruptions. If you’re new to using a humidifier, always make sure that you follow their recommended cleaning instructions which is normally twice a week.
In the past, we have debated the best sleep positions, and while we know the effects a cool, plump and squishy pillow can have on your sleep, it may be worth adjusting how you sleep when you’re feeling under the weather.
By sleeping normally, you may be amplifying your cold symptoms. Especially if you’re a back sleeper as this position tends to encourage postnasal drip, making a sore throat worse. Furthermore, if you’re feeling congested, trying to rest your head horizontally to your body can cause your symptoms to feel more pronounced. Therefore, it is best to elevate your upper body (not just your head) to reduce sinus pressure, allowing them to drain and help you breathe easier.
The ideal solution is to use a foam bed wedge to help to prop your head up at a natural angle, as adding an extra pillow may cause your neck to rest unnaturally and cause more breathing problems. By reducing the pressure on your airways when you have a cold, you can ensure your sleep quality improves and helps let your body recuperate and fight off this cold!
While most colds are seasonal, stress is well known to weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to picking up bugs. At HÜGGE, wellbeing is at the heart of what we do.