When you're full of a cold, often all you want is to go to sleep and wake up feeling better. But when your airways are all bunged up and you're struggling to breathe normally, drifting off to sleep isn't always easy.
A bunged-up nose means you're more likely to wake yourself up snoring, and constant coughing fits aren't conducive to nodding off peacefully. And with broken sleep, you end up feeling worse, turning your cold into a horrible vicious cycle and leaving you feeling utterly miserable.
But there are a few things you can try to help you to get to sleep when you're full of a cold, and they don't have to involve dosing up on medication, if that's something you'd rather not do.
Steam your sinuses
If your nose is blocked and you're suffering with a headache, then it's likely that your sinuses need clearing. You can try to do this by steaming your airways, which should help you to get to sleep a little easier.
Simply boil the kettle and empty the hot water into a mixing bowl or similar vessel, taking care not to burn yourself. Sit close to the bowl so that your face is positioned over it and create a little enclosed space for yourself by placing a tea towel or cloth over your head, so the steam cannot escape.
Be prepared for your nose to stream, so have some tissues nearby, but all of the heat and steam should go some way towards clearing your sinuses. A hot shower or bath can have a similar effect, with the steam from the hot water helping you to breathe more easily, so try this before bed too.
Eat blow-your-socks-off spicy food
Hot, spicy food can also help to clear your passages. Food that tastes particularly strong is likely to be all that you're able to taste if you've got a bad cold, so make sure it's the only thing that's on the menu until you're feeling better.
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If you've already prepared your food for the week, add some hot chilli sauce to your salads or sandwiches, make sure you're eating extra carbs to keep your energy levels up and consider freezing what you've already made and replacing it with fiery curries and spicy fajitas.
Make sure you're fully relaxed before bedtime
When you've been at home all day because you're off work ill, you won't have been using your brain - or your body - as much as usual, so you won't necessarily be quite as tired as usual when bedtime comes around. This means you might need a little extra help nodding off and a nice, relaxing bath could be the perfect option.
Not only will the steam from the water help to clear your sinuses, time away from screens to properly relax could be just what you need to calm your mind before bedtime.
Light a candle to make the atmosphere even more relaxing. Lavender is known for helping to induce a feeling of calm, so our Citrus & Lavender Candle in a Glass would be an ideal option to fill the bathroom with a heady yet soothing fragrance that should leave you feeling calm and peaceful, despite your cold. Its strong aroma could even be enough to unblock your nose.
Drinking a mug of chamomile tea could also help you to sleep easier - around half an hour after you drink it, you should be feeling sleepy, so have a cup before bed and see if that helps.
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Our new Sleep Easy Reed Diffuser, which will be available from March 1st, is scented with lavender and chamomile too, and is designed to bring a calming ambience to your bedroom to help you to drift off without any trouble at night, so think about purchasing one so you're ready for future colds.
Being full of a cold can be frustrating, but being patient, keeping yourself hydrated, eating well and following these tips to get a good night's sleep should get you on the road to recovery.