When you’ve been battling the symptoms of a cough and cold all day, all you want to do at the end of it is crawl into bed and get a good night’s sleep in the hope that your symptoms will have miraculously disappeared when you wake up.
However, in reality, most of us are kept awake half the night spluttering and sniffing with an irritating cough or a stuffy congested nose, The result: You feel much worse come morning!
Dr. Alyn Morice, a cough expert and head of cardiorespiratory studies at Hull York Medical School in Great Britain, shares his top tips for getting the z's you need.
Sleep on an incline. When you lie down, all the mucus that builds up in your nose irritates your throat. Pop some extra pillows under your head and let gravity do its job.
Take a hot shower or bath before bed. Not only will it help you to relax, but the steam will help loosen the mucus and relieve congestion from your nose and chest. Breathe in the steam slowly for a few minutes, then try coughing or blowing your nose to break up the mucus.
Prep your bedside table. The last thing you want to do in the middle of the night is stumble into the bathroom and search for meds. Make sure you have some water, tissues, and cough medicine on your bedside table to help soothe the cough if it starts to irritate you.
Wash the bedding. Dust mites, pet hair, and other allergens lurk on your sheets and comforter; if have allergies, they could add to the irritation in your respiratory tract. Make sure you wash your bedding at least once a week in hot water.
Try OTC meds. Take a cough suppressant to help reduce the urge to hack throughout the night. Anything from the drugstore can do the trick.
Control the humidity level. A humidifier can help you to breathe easier when you’re congested and can also stop your throat from becoming too dry while you sleep. Try and keep humidity levels at 50 percent to stop the air becoming too damp.
Drink up. Make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day by regularly sipping water and other liquids, which will soothe the cough reflex and a sore throat.
Avoid lying on your back. Although sleeping on your back allows your lungs to breathe and expand, it can also make snoring much worse--ESPECIALLY if you’re congested! Try sleeping on your side to avoid any middle-of-the-night pokes from your partner.
Relax. When you’re feeling under the weather, a comfy bed, blankets, and a dark room will help you sleep better. To unwind before hitting the hay, avoid caffeine after 3:00 P.M., and make sure you put your phone and laptop away a good couple of hours before lights out.
Make a doctor’s appointment. Finally, if your symptoms persist for more than three weeks, it could be a sign of something more serious, like a bronchial infection. See an M.D. to rule that out.
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