Sleep Better with the Sniffles

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation.

One of the easiest ways to dodge a cold is to sleep. People who sleep fewer than five or six hours a night are four times as likely to come down with a cold, compared with people who get at least seven hours of shuteye nightly. But, of course, even the best sleepers aren’t totally immune to all germs. And if you do catch a bug, your sleep is likely to suffer. The good news: If a stuffy nose is keeping you awake, making these tweaks to your bedtime routine can help ease the sniffling and discomfort.

Get a humidifier.

Low humidity may dry out nasal passages, making a stuffed nose or sore throat even more uncomfortable. Breathe (and sleep) more easily by keeping the air in your bedroom moist with a humidifier or vaporizer. Run the machine at night, but be sure to clean it and dry it out regularly, since mold and bacteria can grow inside humidifiers.

Pile on the pillows.

Elevating your head allows the nasal passages to drain properly, making it easier to breathe as you sleep. While stacking up pillows can do the trick, using a specially designed foam bed wedge will better support your body and neck.

Don’t forget the tissues.

Getting out of bed to blow your nose is a mega sleep disruption, so stash a box of tissues on your nightstand. Choose ones that are infused with moisturizing lotion to help soothe a sore, irritated nose.

Start using a saline rinse.

If a congested nose is what’s keeping you awake at night, flush mucus out of the nasal passages with a nasal saline spray or mist. Make the rinse a regular part of your bedtime routine (keep the saline solution by your toothbrush to help you remember to use it).

Try nasal strips.

Many people turn to these to help nix snoring, but nasal strips are also great to use if you have a cold. They open the nasal passages, to cut down on congestion, allowing for a more comfortable night’s sleep.

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