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How to Sleep Better When You Have a Cold

By Linda Ray ; Updated August 14, 2017

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic report that most adults will have anywhere from two to four colds a year on average, and children might get as many as 10 colds a year. They recommend sleep as one of the main remedies for the common cold. It can be difficult to get the rest you need to heal from a cold, however, when your head is stuffy, you're coughing and you just can't get comfortable. Lack of sleep can contribute to a cold's severity.

  1. Gargle with warm salt water to soothe your throat before you lie down. Try drinking warm tea with honey and lemon as another alternative for a sore throat. Keep the tea beside your bed so you can sip it as you fall asleep.

  2. Use an extra pillow or two to raise your head so that your sinuses aren't dripping down the back of your throat. Pile enough pillows behind your head and upper back so that you are halfway sitting up.

  3. Take codeine that's prescribed by your doctor just before you lie down. The medicine is a narcotic and causes drowsiness. Doctors at the American Academy of Family Physicians report that codeine should not be used for colds in children, however.

  4. Eat a hot bowl of chicken soup. Doctors at the National Institutes of Health report that chicken soup, though an old-fashioned folk remedy, might be one of the best ways to get some rest and quickly heal from a cold. The heat, the fluids and the salt combine to ease the symptoms and provide comfort so you can sleep.

  5. Run a humidifier where you sleep. A humidifier can help to soothe drying sinuses, cracked lips and bloody noses that often accompany a cold. A humidifier can help you breathe more easily so you can sleep.

  6. Tip

    Clean your nasal passages with a neti pot before lying down. It is a simple tool available over the counter in most drugs stores. Flush out your nostrils with the pot, and then lie down while your sinuses are clearer.


    Make sure your humidifier is clean. The appliances are breeding grounds for germs and mold, and if not properly maintained, they can make you sicker. Monitor humidity levels as well, and follow the directions that come with the unit to keep the appropriate levels. Mayo Clinic doctors report that humidity levels should be between 30 percent and 50 percent.

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