The City Mattress Blog

How to Sleep with a Cold


woman sneezing in bed


Getting quality sleep when you have a cold and cough can be challenging. Coughing, a sore throat and a runny nose can make it difficult to fall asleep. Yet, good sleep is essential when you’re battling a cold, as it helps your body fight off the infection. We have some tips for getting the best sleep possible, even when you’re not feeling well.

Why Does a Cold and Cough Affect Your Sleep?

With experts estimating that Americans suffer over one billion colds a year, it’s clear that finding effective ways to manage symptoms and get quality sleep is essential for many people. Coughing and symptoms of a cold, like a sore throat and runny nose, can significantly disturb your sleep. The urge to cough can make it hard to fall asleep and can even wake you up during the night. Moreover, the common cold and flu often include symptoms that cause discomfort and interfere with sleep.

A dry cough, stuffy nose and a sore throat can keep you up, making it hard to get the rest you need. This is especially true during cold and flu season, when these symptoms are most prevalent. Understanding how cough and cold symptoms affect your sleep can help you take action to sleep better.

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How Much Sleep Do You Need When Sick?

When you’re fighting a cold or the flu, sleep is one of your best allies. Normally, adults should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night. However, when you’re sick with a cold or flu, you may need to sleep a bit more to help your body fight off the virus. The amount of sleep you need can vary based on your body and the severity of your symptoms. Sleep deprivation can make your symptoms worse and prolong your illness. So it’s crucial to listen to your body and get the sleep you need.

portrait sleepless man

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Tips for Sleeping with a Cough and Cold

Sleeping with a cold and cough can be uncomfortable. Here are some sleep tips to help you breathe easier and get comfortable:

  • - Soothe Your Throat: Sipping warm liquids or sucking on lozenges before you go to bed may help soothe a sore throat and reduce coughing. Raw honey and pure pineapple juice are two natural remedies to consider. 
  • - Clear Nasal Passage: Use saline sprays to help relieve a stuffy nose, which will help you breathe better. For a more natural method, try using a nasal irrigation pot to flush things out.
  • - Maintain Sleep Schedule: Try to stick to your regular sleep schedule even when you’re not feeling well. Of course, you need to rest during the day when you’re not feeling well. But don’t risk being up all night because you slept all day. It will make it harder for your body to heal. 

These tips can help you get the rest you need to fight off a cold and improve sleep quality.

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Should You Use a Humidifier?

Dry air can irritate your nose and throat, making your cough worse. A humidifier can add moisture to the air and may help you sleep better.

A humidifier can also help ease mucus buildup in your nasal passages. This may help you breathe easier and get to sleep more quickly. Make sure to clean the humidifier regularly to prevent mold and bacteria growth.

air humidifier on nightstand

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How to Elevate Your Head for Better Breathing

Elevating your head while sleeping can help relieve nasal congestion and may make breathing easier. You can elevate your head by using extra pillows or even a wedge pillow specifically designed for this purpose.

Another option you might consider is using adjustable beds if you’re prone to getting sick a lot. These beds allow you to change the elevation of your head, which can be particularly helpful if you’re dealing with a sore throat from snoring or congested nasal passages. This sleeping position can help ease your symptoms and get you the good quality sleep you need.

Helping Sick Kids Sleep Better

When your child is sick, getting a good night’s sleep becomes a bit more complicated. A cold can keep them awake, making it hard for their body to fight off the illness. One practical step you can take is to use a mattress cover protector. This not only minimizes allergens that could worsen your child’s cold symptoms but also protects the mattress from nighttime accidents, which sick children might be more prone to. A quality mattress protector serves multiple purposes. It acts as a barrier against irritants that could make a cold worse while also safeguarding the mattress from spills or accidents. 

When Should You Talk to Your Doctor?

If you’re having persistent issues with sleep because of a cough or cold, or if your symptoms get worse, it’s time to talk to your doctor. Medical advice is crucial if you find that over-the-counter remedies aren’t helping, or if your sleep deprivation is becoming severe.

Final Thoughts: Tips for Getting the Sleep You Need

Sleep is essential, especially when you’re feeling under the weather. While a cold can make it challenging to get the rest you need, following these tips can make sleeping with a cold easier. And remember, if you’re struggling to manage your symptoms, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor.