Cold and flu season continues to affect many across the United States. Along with drinking enough fluids and maintaining a healthy diet, another natural (and vital) cold remedy may be overlooked by some: sleep. Studies have shown that people are more likely to come down with the common cold and flu virus when they are not getting adequate sleep. Sleep deprivation can potentially weaken the immune system’s ability to function at an optimal level to fight off cold and flu symptoms.
Proteins called cytokines are released during our sleep cycles. If we have an infection, inflammation, or are under stress, these proteins increase to fight off illness or stress. However, if we are not getting adequate sleep, cytokine levels decrease causing our immune systems to weaken. In order to help fight off cold and flu viruses, we must get the proper amount of sleep to stay healthy.
In additional to adequate sleep, try treating cold symptoms with these natural remedies:
- Hydrate: Drinking plenty of fluids is even more important when you are feeling under the weather. Dehydration can lead to new or worsening symptoms and actually make you feel much worse. By staying hydrated, you’ll be able to keep fevers down, control or prevent nausea, and help clear your chest and head clear of congestion.
- Drink hot beverages: Hot water with lemon and honey or hot tea help you stay hydrated while also soothing sore throats and nasal congestion. Sipping on warm herbal teas can also promote calmness and relaxation before bed to help you sleep easier.
- Take a hot shower: The hot steam from a shower can help to moisturize nasal passages and help you feel more relaxed.
- Humidifier: Influenza spreads more easily in dry environments. Similar to the benefits of steam from in a hot shower, using a misting humidifier to increase humidity in your home can help reduce nasal inflammation and help you breathe easier.
- Sleep with your upper body elevated: Adding an extra pillow or using a bed wedge system opens up nasal passages by promoting sinus drainage down the back of your throat. This will help you sleep and rest more comfortably throughout the night.
If you are having trouble sleeping comfortably, visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained sleep experts. They will work with you to find product solutions that will help you rest comfortably and pain-free throughout the night. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more sleep tips and information.