This past week while scrolling through social media sites, like we all do from time to time, I noticed a trend. It seemed just about every other post was a friend or family member complaining of having a cold. It doesn’t come as a surprise with school starting in the Valley (classrooms are like little petri dishes full of germs), and the monsoons kicking up dust and rapidly changing the weather.

Sleep is crucial when it comes to preventing a cold. According to the National Sleep Foundation, people who sleep less than five or six hours a night are four times as likely to come down with a cold compared to people who get at least seven hours of sleep nightly. Unfortunately, even the best sleepers aren’t always safe from germs. If you do catch the cold bug, you are likely to find that your sleep will suffer.

If you have a cold and your stuffy nose is keeping you awake at night there is some good news! Implementing some of the following tips into your bedtime routine can help ease some of your discomfort and help you get the rest you desperately need.

Stack your pillows. Keeping your head elevated allows your nasal passages to properly drain, which makes it easier to breathe when you are sleeping. Using the pillows you have and stacking them can do the trick, but a foam bed wedge will support your neck and body better.

Use a humidifier. When the humidity is low it can dry out your nasal passages, which can make a sore throat or stuffy nose much more uncomfortable. Run a humidifier at night in your bedroom to help keep the air moist. Make sure you are cleaning out your humidifier and allowing it to dry out regularly to avoid mold and bacteria growth.

Keep tissues nearby. Keep a box of tissues next to your bed on your nightstand to avoid getting up and down throughout the night, which can be a big sleep disruption. Avoid irritating your nose by using tissues that are infused with moisturizing lotion.

Try a saline rinse. If your congestion is keeping you up at night, try flushing mucus out of your nasal passages before bed with a saline nasal spray.

Take a steamy shower. A steamy shower before bed can open your nasal passages and loosen any dried-up mucus helping you clear your airways. It is also a good way to help you relax your muscles and unwind before going to bed.

Try nasal strips.  Nasal strips help with snoring by opening the nasal passages- which is also beneficial when you have a cold. Opening the nasal passages will help with congestion and allow for a better night’s sleep.

Drink some (decaffeinated) tea with honey. Drink a cup of hot tea with honey before bed. The steam coming off the drink can moisten dry nasal passages, making it easier for you to breathe. The honey helps soothe a sore throat and works as a cough suppressant.

Don’t try and force sleep. If you are having trouble falling asleep, get out of bed and move to another area of your home. Read a book and sip on a cup of (decaffeinated) tea then try again in 15 to 30 minutes. Avoid television and bright lights which can trick your mind into thinking it is time to be awake.

Sleep is one of the three most important things our body needs to remain healthy.  Along with healthy eating habits and regular exercise, getting a good night’s sleep keeps us alert, active, and in good health. If you find that when you are healthy you still can’t get quality sleep, you may benefit from a sleep consultation at one of the Valley Sleep Centers five convenient locations. Call 480.830.3900 to schedule your appointment today.