When the temperature drops, we all huddle together inside to conserve heat and get away from the cold. Now, unless you’re a self-confessed recluse, this probably doesn’t sound too bad – after all, what’s wrong with snuggling up to stay warm? But there is one unfortunate side effect of everyone crowding indoors, and it’s probably the leading cause of restless sleep during winter: the dreaded flu.
The flu – short for influenza – is a viral infection that usually lasts for about a week, and the symptoms typically include feeling weak, headaches, fever, sneezing, coughing, and a sore nose and throat.
Together, these symptoms make it practically impossible for you to enjoy your sleep, leaving you feeling more exhausted and putting even more stress on your body, so we’ve put our thinking caps on and come up with some sure-fire ways to make sleeping with the flu that bit more bearable.
- Elevate the top half of your body
Propping yourself up with lots of pillows when you go to bed will keep your head elevated, relieving pressure on your sinuses and preventing all that nasty mucus from building up inside your nose. Keeping your nasal passages clear will also mean that you’re less likely to breathe through your mouth, which can dry out the soft tissues at the back of the throat and make it sore.
- Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated when you have the flu is one of the most important things to remember because you can lose lots of fluids through feverish sweating and a runny nose. Hot drinks, especially medicated ones containing decongestants, are great before bed as they moisten nasal passages and loosen phlegm. Adding a drop of honey to your drink will also help to soothe your throat.
- Use a humidifier
If you happen to have a humidifier at home, switching it on when you’re under the weather can ease that dry, congested feeling and help you to drift off and get some well-needed rest. Also, cilia, those tiny hairs that grow inside your nose and lungs, work better when they’re moist, so using a humidifier can make it easier for your body to clear airways of bacteria and mucus.
- Cold and flu medicines
There isn’t a cure for the flu, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take something to alleviate the worst of your symptoms – take some paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower a high temperature or relieve any aches and pains.
- Essential oils
There are several essential oils that you can use to ease a chesty cough and open up those airways. Here are a few of our favourites:
To create a steam bath at home, simply pour some hot water into a bowl, place a couple of drops of your chosen essential oil into the water and then cover your head with a towel, keeping your head a safe distance away from the water’s surface. N.B. Seek advice from your doctor before using any essential oils to treat your cold or flu.
Right, so that’s our list of tips and tricks for better sleep when you’re fighting the flu. Hopefully these lifehacks will bring you more shut-eye when you’re feeling poorly and allow you to recuperate in comfort.