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How to Get the Best Night’s Sleep, Even When You’re Sick



With the chilly weather comes the dreaded onslaught of viruses. Colds, the flu, general malaise… there’s nothing fun about any of them and they can make sleep seem like a real feat. Next time you’re knocked down by a nasty bug, consult this helpful guide to tips and tricks to getting a good night’s sleep, even when you’re feeling under the weather.

Clean Things Out
Before hitting the hay, try cleansing your nasal cavity with a neti pot. This practice involves using a simple saline solution to flush out any mucous or irritants that may have taken up residence in your nasal passages and sinus cavity. While the practice may seem daunting at first, rest assured that it is painless, easy to figure out, and can provide tremendous relief. If you are especially congested, you may find it hard to get the water to pass from one nostril to the other at first. Keep trying and you’ll soon be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you’re able to breathe again. As a general rule, always use water that has been distilled or previously boiled- never go straight from the tap.

Get Steamy
Not only does a hot shower feel amazing on your achy, weary body, it turns out that it has some pretty significant healing benefits as well. The steam from the shower helps loosen things up, providing some much-needed relief from the frustrations of congestion. Before bed, take a warm shower and let the steam build up, taking as many deep breaths as you can. For an extra therapeutic boost, hang some dried eucalyptus from the shower head and get ready to feel a whole lot better.

Elevate That Head
One of the main things that keeps you from sleeping when you’re sick is all the congestion going on in your head. Take advantage of gravity by propping yourself up on a stack of pillows that will keep your head elevated and allow mucous and all that other good stuff to drain away, rather than causing you even more misery.

Stay Hydrated
One of the most important things to do while feeling under the weather is to ensure that you remain adequately hydrated. You may not feel like guzzling water but know that all that extra fluid is helping your body stay strong and boosting its ability to move congestion and other undesirable symptoms out of your body. Coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose can all contribute to dehydration so it’s important that you sip water throughout the day to keep things in balance. Sick of h20? Try some herbal tea (sweetened with honey to sooth a sore throat or cough) or some fresh orange juice. If you have a stomach virus, be sure to replenish any lost electrolytes with a sports beverage or specially formulated drink like Pedialyte to avoid getting seriously sick.

Soothe Your Throat
Sleeping with a sore throat can be virtually impossible. When swallowing causes you to recoil in pain, the last thing you’re able to do is get some solid shut eye. If you’re suffering from a sore throat, take some time before bed to gargle for 10-15 seconds with a solution of 1/2 teaspoon salt and warm water. This practice helps loosen the mucus that is causing you so much misery and helps soothe inflammation. Caffeine-free tea with honey (raw honey is best) also provides a calming coating that can help you get some rest.

Create a Sanctuary
Usually, the last thing you want to do when you’re sick is to tidy your room and make your bed. That being said, just straightening the covers, swapping your wrinkled pillowcases for fresh ones, and corralling all those used tissues into a trash can has the power to make a world of difference. Creating a calm, soothing environment helps your body settle and does wonders when it comes to getting some rest. Avoid using electronics near bed time (this is when trashy magazines are totally acceptable) and keep your bedroom cool and dark for best results.

Bring In the Heavy Artillery
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, there’s just no way you’re going to get to sleep unless you step up your cold-fighting game. Thankfully, there are a myriad of over-the-counter medications that help suppress symptoms and allow your body to get the rest that it so desperately needs to ensure a full recovery. Talk to a pharmacist to find the right product for you and always read the enclosed instructions to be certain that you’re following the proper dosing guidelines. Sweet dreams!

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