When you’ve been battling the symptoms of a cough and cold all day, all you want to do come night time is crawl into bed and get a good night’s sleep in the hope that your symptoms will have miraculously disappeared when you wake up.
However, in reality most of us are kept awake half the night spluttering and sniffing with an irritating cough, or a stuffy congested nose, often leaving you - and your partner - feeling much worse come morning!
Professor Alyn Morice, cough expert and Head of Cardiorespiratory Studies at Hull York Medical School shares his top tips.
- Sleep on an incline – All the mucus that builds up in your nose or throat while you lay down irritates your throat, so pop some extra pillows under your head and let gravity do its job
- Take a hot shower or bath before bed – Not only will it help you to relax, but the steam will help loosen the mucus and relieve congestion from your nose and chest. Breathe in the steam slowly for a few minutes then try coughing or blowing your nose to break up the mucus
- Prepare your bedside – The last thing you want to be doing in the middle of the night is fumbling around in the kitchen cupboard trying to find some medicine. Make sure you have some water, tissues and cough medicine on your bedside table to help soothe the cough if it starts to irritate you
- Wash the bedding – Dust mites, pet hair and other allergens lurk on your bedding, and if you’re an allergic sort of person, they could add to the irritation on your respiratory tract. Make sure you wash your bedding at least once a week in hot water
- Take a cough suppressant to help reduce the urge to cough throughout the night. Something like Covonia Hot Dose Cough & Cold Syrup (RRP £5.49 available from pharmacies) shoudl do the trick.
- Control the humidity level – A humidifier can help you to breathe easier when you’re congested and can also stop your throat from becoming too dry while you sleep. Try and keep humidity levels at 50% to stop the air becoming too damp
- Stay hydrated – Make sure you keep hydrated throughout the day by regularly sipping water, which will soothe the cough reflex and also help with a sore throat
- Avoid laying on your back – Although sleeping on your back allows your lungs to breathe and expand, it can also make snoring much worse – especially if you’re congested! Try sleeping on your side to avoid your partner angrily waking you up in the middle of the night
- And relax... – When you’re feeling under the weather, a comfy bed, blankets and a dark room will help you sleep better. Make sure you put your phone and laptop away a good couple of hours before you go to bed to help you unwind, and avoid caffeine after 3pm
- Book a doctor’s appointment – If you’re symptoms persist for more than 3 weeks you should seek medical advice as it could be a sign of something more serious
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