How to Sleep Better When You Have a Cold or Flu

Don’t allow a sniffle to stop a good nights rest

Woman lying on bed while blowing her nose

If you have a cold or flu, getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging. The congestion, coughing, and general discomfort can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. However, getting enough sleep is crucial for your body to recover and fight off the illness. In this article, we will discuss some tips and tricks to help you sleep better when you have a cold or flu.

Young man in sleepwear suffering from headache in morning

Why Sleep is Important When You Have a Cold or Flu

Sleep is essential for your body to fight off an illness. When you are sick, your immune system is working overtime to combat the virus or bacteria causing the illness. Getting enough rest helps your body to conserve energy, repair damaged tissue, and produce infection-fighting antibodies.

Tips for Sleeping Better When You Have a Cold or Flu

Here are some tips and tricks to help you sleep better when you have a cold or flu:

1. Elevate Your Head

Elevating your head can help to relieve congestion and make it easier to breathe. Use an extra pillow or two to elevate your head while you sleep.

2. Use a Humidifier

Using a humidifier can add moisture to the air and help to soothe a sore throat and dry nasal passages. Make sure to clean your humidifier regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold.

3. Drink Warm Liquids Before Bed

Drinking warm liquids such as tea or broth before bed can help to soothe a sore throat and ease congestion. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as they can disrupt sleep.

4. Take Over-The-Counter Medications

Over-the-counter medications such as cough syrups and decongestants can help to relieve symptoms and make it easier to sleep. Make sure to read the label and follow the instructions carefully.

Woman lying on bed while using tissue

5. Use Essential Oils

Essential oils such as lavender and eucalyptus can help to promote relaxation and relieve congestion. Use a diffuser or place a few drops of oil on a tissue and inhale before bed.

6. Avoid Stimulants Before Bed

Avoid caffeine and other stimulants before bed, as they can interfere with sleep. Try to limit your intake of these substances, especially in the evening.

7. Practice Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and meditation can help to calm your mind and body and make it easier to fall asleep. Try to spend some time practicing these techniques before bed.

8. Keep Your Room Dark and Quiet

Make sure your room is dark and quiet to promote restful sleep. Use blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out light, and use earplugs or white noise to block out noise.

9. Use a Nasal Strip

Nasal strips can help to open up your nasal passages and make it easier to breathe. Place a strip across the bridge of your nose before bed.

10. Try Acupressure

Acupressure is an ancient Chinese technique that involves applying pressure to specific points on the body. Certain acupressure points can help to relieve congestion and promote relaxation, making it easier to sleep. You can try applying pressure to the points on your face, neck, and chest before bed.

Sick in bed


Getting enough sleep is crucial when you are sick with a cold or flu. By following these tips and tricks, you can improve the quality of your sleep and help your body to recover more quickly.


  1. Can exercise help me sleep better when I have a cold or flu?
    • It’s best to avoid vigorous exercise when you are sick. Light exercise such as walking or yoga may be helpful, but listen to your body and don’t overdo it.
  2. Is it okay to take sleeping pills when I have a cold or flu?
    • It’s best to avoid sleeping pills unless they have been prescribed by your doctor. Over-the-counter sleeping pills can interact with other medications and may not be safe for everyone.
  3. How can I prevent getting sick in the first place?
    • The best way to prevent getting sick is to practice good hygiene, wash your hands regularly, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  4. Should I see a doctor if my symptoms don’t improve?
    • If your symptoms persist or get worse, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. They can determine if you have a bacterial infection that requires antibiotics or if you need further treatment.
  5. Can I drink alcohol when I have a cold or flu?
    • It’s best to avoid alcohol when you are sick. Alcohol can dehydrate you and make it harder for your body to fight off the illness.

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