Let’s face it—the common cold isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. After all, how do you think it got its name? It’s really common (approximately 1 billion colds each year). While it may be a nuisance, the symptoms are often bearable and treatable. Once you’re armed with tissues, cough drops and vitamin C, you can manage to tough it out at work, right? But trying to get a full night’s sleep with a cold? Now that’s another story.
We’ve all been there. Restless nights, filled with tossing and turning as you desperately try to get comfortable, can be miserable. A harmless stuffy nose doesn’t seem so minor when it’s keeping you up night after night. So, why is it that nighttime is especially tough when you have a cold? Here are a few explanations:
Gravity. That’s right—the force that keeps you firmly planted to the earth is one of the primary reasons you’re coughing more at night. When you’re lying horizontal, mucus begins to pool in the back of the throat and lungs. Try propping yourself up with a pillow. The incline can help keep mucus from collecting and triggering your cough.
Dry air. That same gush of warm air you feel when you walk indoors is the same air that’s making your cold symptoms worse. Unfortunately, indoor air is far drier than its outdoor counterpart. So, when you’re sleeping, the repeated breathing of dry air can irritate your sinuses, throat and lungs. Try using a humidifier to add more moisture to the air.
Lack of hydration. While you may not want to gulp down a bunch of water right before bed, staying hydrated can help you get a better night’s sleep. Not only does it help to fuel your body’s fight against cold germs, it also helps to minimize symptoms. Fluids work to thin the mucus in your throat and lungs, making it easier to cough up before bed. The more you get out before you sleep, the less you’ll find yourself waking up to a coughing fit.
Is cold and flu season slowing you down?
While the common cold may not seem like a serious health threat, it can progress into infections that do. Illnesses like bronchitis and pneumonia are nothing to sneeze at. If your cold symptoms worsen, it may be time to see a doctor. The experts at GMG Primary Care and ChoiceOne Urgent Care can help you get back to doing what you enjoy—including sleeping soundly.