It is estimated that up to 30 million doctor’s appointments are made each year to treat coughing. Coughing is a symptom of both the common cold and the flu, so it’s possible that many individuals have it without seeking medical attention. As a result of a cough, you may find it difficult to fall asleep. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help yourself get the sleep you require to feel well.
Why Do I Cough More at Night When I’m Sick?
A nocturnal cough can occur for a variety of reasons, but the most common is a cold or the flu. By clearing mucus and other foreign particles from the windpipe, voice box (and lungs), our bodies are able to keep us safe. Coughing, whether it occurs at night or during the day, often serves the same purpose.
A postnasal drip can cause your cough to get worse at night if you’re unwell. When fluids flow down the back of the throat instead of out of the nose, they’re known as postnasal drip. Colds and other respiratory illnesses frequently cause this symptom. Postnasal drip can be worsened if you sleep on your back, which may explain why you cough more at night.
Can You Sleep Off a Cold?
Although there is no known cure for the common cold, doctors recommend getting lots of rest while you’re sick. Because sleep and the immune system are intertwined, getting enough of both helps the body repair. Several studies have shown that sleep enhances immunity through influencing hormone levels and the body’s inflammatory response.
Preventing the common cold may be as simple as getting a good night’s sleep before you get sick. A good night’s sleep is seven or more hours for healthy adults.
More people with a cold virus develop symptoms when they are sleep-deprived in the week preceding exposure than those who get enough sleep. More than twice as many people who sleep less than five hours a night as those who sleep seven or more hours a night have symptoms, according to research. Colds are nearly three times more likely to strike those who sleep less than seven hours each night than those who sleep eight or more.
How Does a Cold Affect Your Sleep?
It is typical to have difficulty falling asleep when you have a cold, yet over 40% of people say that sleeping longer than usual helps them deal with it. It has been found that 46 percent of people have difficulty getting a good night’s sleep when they have a cold or the flu. 94% of those who were ill with the cold or flu said that their symptoms kept them awake at night.
When you have a cold, a cough is the most common symptom that will keep you up at night, but you should also be aware of other symptoms including body aches, sore throat, runny nose, and the urge to sneeze. Fever dreams are common in those who are sick with a fever. You may also find it difficult to sleep when you’re sick because of these disturbing dreams.
How to Sleep With a Cough or Cold
Even if you don’t get rid of all of your symptoms right once, there are certain routines you can get into to help you sleep better while you’re recovering. In the event that your cough is exacerbated by a condition such as asthma or seasonal allergies, you may need to address these problems as well in order to alleviate your cough.
Experts advise parents to offer honey to their children over the age of 12 months as a safer treatment for upper respiratory infections like the cold before resorting for cold medication. Pre-bedtime honey consumption has been demonstrated to lower the frequency and severity of nighttime coughing in non-infant children. When a sick child swallows honey before going to bed, it may help both the youngster and the parents sleep better.
Specifically, researchers are looking into honey as a cure for children because over-the-counter cough medicines represent a greater risk to children than adults. Adults, on the other hand, can use honey as a cough remedy. Honey has been shown to have antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.
Try Cough Medicine
Studies have shown conflicting outcomes when it comes to the efficacy of cough medicines, which many individuals instinctively go for when they are experiencing a cold-related cough. Cough drugs have been shown in numerous tests to be no more effective than a placebo, and many of these medications also have severe side effects.
It serves a purpose in the body’s immunological response to coughing. Some medical experts have warned that overusing medication that suppresses coughing could delay a person’s recovery.
Over-the-counter cough medication is widely available. Cough medicines may help you sleep if you use them in moderation, but you should be aware of the possible negative effects. Taking a lozenge may be all that is needed to put an end to a dry cough and allow you to sleep.
Try a Nasal Decongestant
At night, coughing can be alleviated by using nasal decongestants, which contain drugs that target blood vessels to open up the nasal passages and lessen postnasal drip. You may buy decongestant tablets, drops, and nasal sprays from your local pharmacy.
Studies on the use of nasal decongestants to treat the common cold have generated conflicting findings, much as those on cough medicines. The negative effects of these medications include elevated blood pressure and dizziness, as well as nausea and insomnia. Children under the age of six should not use them for more than five days at a time.
Drink a Warm Liquid
Home cures such as hot tea and chicken soup are popular, but little research has been done on the effects of hot liquids on a cold. Nasal congestion can be relieved by drinking hot liquids like chicken soup or hot water, according to a study conducted in the 1970s.
More recently, a hot beverage had no influence on the ability to breathe readily via the nose, although it did lead people to report that they could breathe more easily. Runny noses, sneezing, and coughing were all lessened by drinking the same beverage hot or cold. People who drank the hot beverage also said it made them feel less cold and fatigued, and it soothed their sore throats. According to the researchers, a hot beverage may help alleviate cold and flu symptoms by combining the placebo effect and the beverage’s ability to clear out nasal congestion.
When you’re feeling under the weather, having a cup of hot tea or a bowl of soup is a good idea. It doesn’t matter whether the favorable benefits you feel are only a placebo; they can still help you sleep more soundly and feel better about yourself.
Elevate Your Head and Neck
Gravity can exacerbate postnasal drip-related coughs, making them more difficult to control. Propping up your head and neck may help alleviate your cough if it gets worse when you’re lying down. In order to keep your head high above your body while laying down, use a wedge pillow or many pillows. Adults may benefit from this therapy, but children under the age of 10 should avoid it.
Use a Humidifier
Studies have found that higher humidity levels are better for cleansing the nasal passages, but others have found little evidence that using a humidifier helps alleviate symptoms.
If your bedroom is too dry, you may want to consider purchasing a humidifier to keep the humidity level between 30 and 50 percent.. If you keep your home’s humidity levels over 40%, you may be able to protect your family members against the influenza virus. For some people, a humid environment can worsen their symptoms, so it’s better to stay within safe boundaries.
The humidifier should be cleaned regularly and only distilled water should be used.
How to sleep with a cold and a stuffy nose
Dr. Green says that treating cold-related nasal congestion before going to bed can significantly enhance sleep quality. Pre-bedtime use of saline rinse and nasal steroids can help alleviate some of the irritation brought on by a cold.
You can use nasal decongestants, such as Afrin or similar nasal sprays, for a short time if you’re suffering from a really severe case of sinusitis,” Dr. Green explains.
These sprays should never be used for more than two to three days in a row since they will create more severe rebound congestion and the development of an addiction to these sprays, which are very addictive.
How to sleep with a runny nose
A stuffy nose is one possibility, but what if that’s the case? Not only is it inconvenient to have to wake up all the time to blow or wipe your runny nose, but it also causes restless sleep, which makes you feel worse the next day.
According to Dr. Green, the optimum nasal hygiene program is to utilize a saline rinse followed by a nasal steroid spray, which is both safe and effective (both over the counter remedies). Nasal congestion caused by dryness and irritation can be eased by using a humidifier at night.
How to sleep when you have a sore throat
When your throat is full of razor blades, it’s difficult to get a good night’s sleep. The chances of getting a good night’s sleep are limited, but not impossible, if you’ve just swallowed salvia.
In the end, “It’s a lot of work!” Dr. Green is the first to admit as much. Icing the mouth can assist ease the pain of an aching throat, and throat lozenges can provide some external relief.”
This can help alleviate throat and nasal irritation by raising the head of your bed. This is a simple process if you have a bed that can be adjusted (simply push a button). For the rest of us, stacking bed pillows is the next best thing…
Stack your bed pillows to raise your head
In order to alleviate both nose and throat irritation, you should raise the head of your bed at least 30 degrees.” Because it helps to prevent increased blood flow to certain places when you lie flat, it helps to reduce inflammation and swelling in the area.
“Second, snoring and sleep apnea can become worse if the nose and throat are inflamed or swollen. This effect can be minimized by sleeping with your head elevated, which may help alleviate the snoring that is common with nasal congestion or URI symptoms.”
Take a shower before bed and prep your room
It’s been shown that taking a hot shower can assist to release the mucus, crusting, and inflammation associated with cold-related nasal congestion and puffiness.
When you have a cold, you may wonder if you should keep the temperature in your bedroom lower or higher. A cold and dark environment is ideal for sleeping because body temperature is a key factor in our sleep-wake cycle.
“The body’s temperature should be at its lowest throughout the night and into the early hours of the morning. In order to get a good night’s sleep, it’s always better to sleep in a chilly room.
How to get your bedroom ready for sleep
If you have a cold, Dr. Green recommends that you sleep in a cool and dark room, regardless of whether you have a cold. In the hour leading up to bedtime, set your smart thermostat to a temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
In order to have a good night’s sleep, you should turn off all the lights in your home and avoid using any electronic devices before bedtime. Generally speaking, the greater your odds of falling asleep are, the less light pollution there is in your bedroom.
Make sure your favorite comforter is on the bed, and that your pillows are plumped and wrapped in fresh linen to reduce your chances of sleeping with a cold.
Check the care label on your pillowcases to see whether applying eucalyptus oil would harm the material before using it to help alleviate congestion.
When it comes to your health and happiness, sleep is essential, so check out our best mattress guide if you think your present bed is keeping you from getting the rest you need. Read our guide to the finest mattress toppers for old beds if yours only needs a little extra comfort.
Make sure you get enough rest to ensure that your cold doesn’t become a long-term problem by taking the time you need to recuperate, and don’t hesitate to seek medical attention if your symptoms worsen.
When to Talk to Your Doctor
The normal duration of a cold and its symptoms, such as a cough, is seven to ten days. Make an appointment with your doctor if your cough or cold symptoms continue for more than a week or if they are extremely severe. Although many people recover from a cold easily, those with a compromised immune system or certain illnesses are at risk of the cold developing into a more serious infection, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
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