When you're sick as a dog, the last thing that'll make you feel better is a bout of insomnia. It's a total catch-22: You're completely exhausted, but you can't seem to fall asleep. Instead, you spend the whole night tossing and turning, and wind up feeling even worse in the morning. For this reason, as winter approaches, it's crucial to figure out how to fall asleep when you're sick so you never have to endure another brutal, sleepless night.
When your immune system is stretched too thin, it can start to feel like your entire body is thrown out of whack. You can practically feel your throat slowly clogging up and your nose getting all congested, especially as you're just laying down and trying to fall asleep. When you're feeling this sh*tty, the best thing you can do for yourself is come up with strategies that clear up your airways and help your immune system fight off infection and inflammatory on the spot.
But as I'm sure you know, it's not just about falling asleep; it's about staying asleep, too. Literally no one wants to wake up with a fully blocked-up nose at 2 a.m. Since getting plenty of shut-eye is one of the fastest ways to get better from an illness, it's important that you find ways to fall asleep and stay asleep for the full night when you're under the weather. Here are six foolproof ways to fall asleep when you're sick, and stay snoozing the whole night through.
1Get A Humidifier
Sometimes winter air can dry out your sinuses — in a bad way. Having sinuses that are too dry, ironically enough, leads to infection and illness
Using a humidifier will help loosen up the mucus in your sinuses without drying out your sinus cavities too much. Plus, it'll help nudge that nasty cough out of your body that doesn't seem to want to go away. Throw in a diffuser and some essential oils, and you'll be good to go.
2Prop Yourself Up
Although this may feel counterintuitive, sleeping with your head slightly higher than your body will help you breathe more easily when you're sick.
Elevating your head (think an extra pillow, not sitting up at a 90-degree angle) will help relieve sinus pressure and allow you to breathe smoothly and comfortably throughout the night.
3Gargle Salt Water
Gargling a concoction of warm water and salt will do wonders for a sore throat. The Mayo Clinic recommends a quarter-teaspoon of salt in a standard glass of warm water. Simply gargle it around like you would with mouthwash, then spit it out. This should soothe your throat enough to help you fall asleep.
4Have Chicken Soup For Dinner
We've all heard it before: Chicken soup is good for the soul. But on a more specific level, chicken soup is good for the souls with common colds. Research shows that chicken soup is filled with anti-inflammatories that can help you fight off whatever scummy sickness you're currently dealing with.
Pro tip: Canned soup works just as well as the stuff from scratch, so no need to whip up a fancy homemade batch when you're already too sick to function.
5Take A Piping Hot Shower
Take the steamiest shower that you can right before you get into bed. While you're in the shower, take turns blowing through each of your nostrils to get all the mucus out. This might be kind of gross, but you're in the shower anyways, everything's getting cleaned, right?
Plus, I'd rather get that stuff out than know that it's just chilling indefinitely in my system.
6Try An Over-The-Counter Medication
Over-the-counter decongestants, antihistamines, and pain-relievers admittedly won't shorten the duration of your flu, but they will relieve the severity of the symptoms, especially the ones that are ruining your beauty sleep. Just make sure that you read the fine print on the OTC medication you choose, as some "nighttime" medications can make you woozy for several hours, meaning it may not be ideal to chug cough syrup at 2 a.m. if you have a work meeting scheduled at 8 a.m. sharp.