The chilly winter months are known to breed flu, common cold, and other annoying infections and viruses. If you are one of those unlucky ones to contract one or more of these winter illnesses, you know how difficult it is to get some sound sleep while you are constantly getting those sniffles and coughs. Well, there are some simple solutions to get a peaceful night’s sleep while battling with common cold and cough.
Take a Steamy Hot Bath
Taking hot steam in the shower can prove to be effective in opening your nasal passages while loosening the dried mucous and cleaning the airways. It is also a good way to relax and wind down before hitting the bed. The body becomes cold when you have a cold, and a steamy shower can help you to energize and reduce the symptoms of a blocked nose and running sinuses while making the nasal muscles relaxed.
Sip Some Tea with Honey
Just like a bowl of hot soup, a hot beverage can also loosen the mucus from your sinuses. But not all hot beverages will give out the same results as some hot tea with honey. Adding honey to tea not only helps in soothing a sore throat but can also prove to be effective as a cough suppressant to help you get rid of that sore throat.
A Humidifier or Vaporizer Can Work Wonders
Dry air and the cold season go hand in hand. Under such weather conditions, a good vaporizer or humidifier can add the required moisture into the air and soothe the sinuses. But it is necessary to clean the humidifier regularly to avoid making it the breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Change the water daily and clean the tank every couple of days to keep it clean. If there is a child inside the room, use a cool-mist vaporizer as warm mist units can cause burns to children who get too close to it.
Maintain an Optimal Sleep Environment
Just because you have a cold, don’t be tempted to overheat the room. Keep the room temperature at normal levels and stack up blankets so that you can remove them if you begin to overheat. It is also important to maintain the humidity of the room. Combine that with a good humidifier and you are sure to get a problem-free sleep at night.
Reconsider Your Sleep Position
Some people think that stacking an extra pillow under their head can provide relief from the cold and flu and help them get better sleep. But this can make the situation even worse by causing the head to sag forward and worsening the breathing problem. Instead, you can use a foam wedge that will help to raise your upper body, letting the nasal packages drain. Don’t lay on your back as it may worsen postnasal drip. Sleep on the side opposite to that of your blocked nose.
Depriving the body of adequate fluid can make your nasal cavities dry. It is necessary to keep the body well-hydrated so that the entire respiratory system stays wet and prevent any breathing problems. You can also sip a hot caffeine-free beverage to give your throat some relief during bedtime. It will provide you with a short relief period during which you can slip off to slumber.
Try Out Some Over-the-Counter Remedies
Whether you are feeling hot, stuffy, and achy or any uneasiness due to cough and cold, you can always reach out for some over-the-counter medications. If the condition is severe, consider seeking medical advice from a doctor or an ear and teeth specialist. Some medications can escalate the problem if not taken at the right dosage. You can also ask a pharmacist to get the right solution for your cough, cold, or sinus problem.
Prepare Yourself for the Night’s Sleep
If you find yourself maintaining a relaxed posture, tossing and turning in bed, get out of your bed, and engage in some other activity. You can read a book by dimming the room lights or listen to some soothing music. Get into some low-intensity activity unless you feel sleepy. Don’t go to bed until you are feeling sleepy to promote healthier sleep habits throughout the year.
Things to Avoid
Besides the effective tips for sleeping with a cold, there are some don’ts that you should keep in mind to avoid making the situation even more complicated.
- Refrain from drinking alcohol as it will dry out your breathing passage and making it difficult for you to breathe. Also, it can swell up your sinuses and react adversely with your cold and flu problems.
- Don’t engage in any high-intensity activity as it will interfere with your sleeping routine and make it difficult for you to sleep.
- You cannot force yourself to sleep. So, don’t lie down forcefully expecting that sleep will come off naturally. Read a book or listen to some soothing music.
- Don’t use any gadget or digital device that will impact the release of melatonin by the body. Devices that are known to emit blue light can severely interfere with your sleep routine.
- Many people think that overheating the room will help them combat the common cold and get a better night’s sleep. But that is a complete myth as it might lead to night sweat and make you wake up in the middle of your sleep. Maintain normal room temperature to set the stage for a relaxed night’s sleep.
The good news is that common cold and flu will not last for more than a few days, or at most a week. Although they are irritating and uncomfortable, they are your on-and-off companion. Just make sure that you take some precautionary measures and necessary steps to help you combat the irritation when they occur. It will improve your health condition and help you to get rid of such problems quickly for a calm and relaxed night’s sleep.
It happens to the best of us – we have an early start the next day but are unable to fall asleep. We lie in bed, staring at the ceiling, and listening to the ticking clock as the night refuses to end. For some people, it happens every day, and for others, it happens when they are too tired or stressed, and their brains simply won’t shut up. The most interesting – and frustrating -thing about not being able to fall asleep is that the more you think about it, the harder it is for sleep to come.
Does that mean you have a sleep disorder? Yes and no. Some people have trouble falling asleep when they have a lot on their minds or when they are too stressed or excited. However, if this is a regular occurrence without any external cause, you probably have sleep-onset insomnia. This is a condition when the person is unable to fall asleep when he is supposed to. Sleep onset insomnia is also sometimes called delayed sleep disorder and can be a common occurrence with some people.
When you are unable to fall asleep at the right time, you get late in the morning and remain drowsy the rest of the day. The hours lost at night result in sleep deficiency and excessive daytime sleepiness. It is no surprise that sleep disorders are on the rise around the world, and affecting the global economy because of lost productivity. Besides, sleep deficiency and excessive daytime sleepiness cause accidents and injuries and also lead to greater health problems later in life.
Why You Can’t Fall Asleep?
When we go to bed, we want to fall asleep as quickly as possible. Everyone loves a good night’s rest because it makes them feel fresh and alert and helps them achieve more throughout the day. But a lot of reasons contribute to sleep onset insomnia or simply the inability to fall asleep. This can either happen on a regular basis or once in a while, but it is frustrating nevertheless.
Stress and anxiety are usually the two most important factors that interfere with normal sleep. When there is a lot on your mind, sleep can be elusive. Until your brain shuts off, it is hard to fall asleep. Consuming caffeine and alcohol before bed can also interfere with sleep. Medical conditions and medications also cause sleep problems.
However, sometimes every person finds it hard to fall asleep, even if they sleep without any issues on other nights. This is often because of mental exertion, stress, anxiety or the wrong foods.
10 Tips to Fall Asleep Faster
If you do not have a medical problem and are unable to fall asleep simply because of external factors, there are things you can do to make sleep come faster. The following tips are meant to help you get started on a healthy sleep routine that makes falling asleep and waking up the next morning equally easy.
- Go to Bed Only When You Are Sleepy
Just because it’s time for bed doesn’t mean you should be lying in bed when you aren’t sleepy. Make it a point to go to bed only when you feel sleepy. This will help the brain associate the bed with sleep and nothing else.
- Maintain A Sleep Routine
Once you get home from work, make sure to wind down with a relaxing sleep routine. From having a relaxing drink to taking a warm bath to listening to soothing music, it all helps your brain shut down and get into sleep mode.
- Watch or Read Something Boring
That’s right if you must read or watch TV in bed, make sure it’s something boring. There’s even a channel on YouTube called Napflix that plays boring videos to help you fall asleep. Avoid watching horror movies or the 11 pm news or anything that excites you.
- Don’t Look at The Clock
When you’re lying in bed unable to sleep, your eyes keep going to the bedside clock. Looking at the time every few seconds makes the night pass slower than usual. To avoid this, either remove the clock from the room or turn it backward. When you cannot see the time, you fret less about being unable to fall asleep.
- Adjust the Temperature
Regardless of the season, if your bedroom doesn’t have the ideal temperature, it can be hard to fall asleep. If it’s too cold, turn the thermostat up. If it’s too hot, turn on the air conditioner. If you want your room warm even in summer and if it’s something that helps you sleep better, don’t be shy about turning up the thermostat when everyone else is using the AC.
- Keep Warm
It isn’t uncommon to find people who have chilly hands and feet throughout the year, especially when they go to bed. If this is you and it keeps you from falling asleep at night, try warming up your feet. Either wear socks to bed or use an additional blanket or soak your feet in warm water before hitting the sack.
- Have Comfortable Bedding
Not many people want to invest in comfortable bedding because they think it’s a waste of money. What they don’t realize is that bedding is crucial to sleep quality. When you have attractive and comfortable bedding, it makes sleep time more appealing and makes you look forward to going to bed.
- Try Deep Breathing
If it’s stress and anxiety keeping you from falling asleep, practice deep breathing while you’re lying in bed. Simply breathe through your nose, making sure it’s your belly that swells and not your chest and exhale from your mouth. Keep doing this until you doze off.
- Have Sex
Whether you are coupled up or single, sex is powerful enough to help you relax because it releases the feel-good hormone called oxytocin. That’s the reason why bedtime is regarded as the best time to have sex because it helps you get relaxed and sound sleep afterward.
- Avoid Heavy Meals Before Bed
What you eat for dinner often has a big impact on your sleep quality. If you have a heavy meal close to bedtime, your digestive system will work throughout the night, preventing your brain and body from relaxing and falling asleep. If you must eat close to bedtime, keep it light. A heavy meal for dinner should be consumed within 6 in the evening, not later.
When to Seek Medical Help for Sleep-Onset Insomnia?
If all these lifestyle changes do not resolve your sleep-onset insomnia, you can seek medical help. However, it is recommended that you try every means in the book before taking the help of sleep supplements or medications.
Have you ever spent a night at a cheap bed & breakfast, only to be kept awake the whole time by itchy bites? Or that time at grandma’s house when you had to snooze in your sleeping bag because something wouldn’t stop biting you at night? Did you realize where the bites were coming from? Yes, they were bed bugs. These little creatures that are often microscopic to the naked eye can make life a living hell. If you have experienced itchy bites when lying in bed, or have actually seen bed bugs in the crevices and seams of your mattress, then it is a problem that you will have to fix. Otherwise, you can go months with these pesky little creatures ruining your sleep.
A lot of people tend to think that bed bugs are a result of an unclean home. But despite keeping your house spanking clean all the time you may be surprised to find bed bugs in your mattress or other upholstered furniture. Bed bugs are quite a nuisance. If your couches, cushions and upholstered furniture have bed bugs in them, it is repulsive enough to keep guests and visitors away from your house. Most importantly, it can make sleeping a nightmare.
This is why the moment you realize your bed or mattress could have bed bugs; you should take the right measures to get rid of the problem. The longer you let the bedbugs remain the more they are going to spread.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are parasitic creatures, often microscopic to the naked eye. They are cold bed bugs because they live and breed in soft, upholstered surfaces, like mattresses cushions carpets, etc. Unlike dust mites, it is not normal for bed bugs to be present in houses. Dust mites are practically unavoidable and are present virtually everywhere. But bed bugs are not present in every place, which means it is not normal to have them around. If you know you have bed bugs in your house, you should not put up with the nuisance.
Bed bugs are normally found in beddings and mattresses because that is where they can find humans and pets to feed on. They also live in these surfaces and rapidly multiply. Bed bugs can also be found in other areas such as hard to reach crevices, nooks and crannies, under carpets, and even clothing.
The worst thing about bedbugs is that they can enter your home from just one contaminated item, such as an infested piece of clothing. It does not matter how clean your house is; if even one-bed bug enters the place, it will not take long at all to multiply into thousands. If you sleep in a bed bug infestation hotel room or travel on a train or a cruise, the bedbugs you pick up from there can infest your house in a matter of days. Second-hand pieces of furniture can also bring bed bugs into your house.
Because they are parasites, bed bugs are very strong. They can also penetrate through the walls of your house; so if there is a bed bug infestation in your neighbor’s house, your apartment or house will also be affected. Bed bugs usually feed on the blood of humans and other animals, but they can go months without needing to feed, making it hard to eradicate them. A crowded neighborhood or a place with too many humans living in close proximity also leads to bed bugs infestation.
Bed bugs do not spread diseases, but their bites are itchy and uncomfortable. Bed bug bites can also cause skin rashes.
Getting Rid of Bed Bugs – Step-by-Step Instructions
If your bed has been infested by bed bugs, your best solution would be to call pest control and take care of the problem. But if you want to do it yourself, fan following the next few steps should make the job easier:
Step 1: Strip your bed off the sheets and remove all pillowcases and covers. Do not leave them lying around because that will lead to contamination. Put these items in a garbage bag and tightly steal them while taking them to the washer. Wash them thoroughly in hot water.
Step 2: Do not attempt to do anything with the pillows. Simply throw them out. Next, thoroughly vacuum the mattress, making sure to get the seams, crevices and other nooks and corners where bed bugs hide. Do not empty the vacuum cleaner bag inside the house. Empty it outside the house and thoroughly clean the vacuum container to make sure no bed bug can make its way back to the house.
Step 3: For the maximum peace of mind it is wise to throw out the mattress and buy a new one. This will make sure that there are no bed bugs remaining in the house and also spare you the trouble of cleaning the entire mattress and then bug proofing it. A mattress with a removable cover is the best choice because the mattress becomes easier to clean. A removable cover also prevents the bed bugs from entering the mattress. However, if you do not want to purchase a new mattress, then read on for the next steps.
Step 4: To bug proof your bed, put your mattress in a bed bug proof cover. These highly specialized mattress protectors cover the entire mattress with a special material that the bugs are unable to bite through. This removable cover has a zipper that closes so snug that not even one bug can make its way through it. You have to keep on this cover for at least a year to make sure that all the bugs and the eggs have died.
Step 5: Do not forget to kill any bed bugs on the bed frame, cracks, and joints of the bed. If using pesticide, be careful with it and use it according to the instructions on the label. Push the bed away from the wall and encase the feet of the bed in bed bug interceptor cups. These cups have pesticide in them that kill any bug that attempts to climb up the bed. Make sure the sheets, bed skirt or covers don’t touch the floor. Vacuum the floor to remove all traces of bugs.
Eradicating bedbugs is a daunting task. If all else fails, it’s time to call pest control.
Editor’s Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links. For full details visit the disclosures page.
With sleep disorders rising around the world with every passing day, people are more interested in sleep aids than ever. Sleep aids come in various forms. They come as liquids and as pills, and sometimes even as a supplement in the form of powder. To make sleep aids easily accessible, most of them are available over-the-counter and don’t even require a prescription. Sleep aids used to be an easy way for people to commit suicide, but modern sleeping pills no longer have the potential to kill. If you overdose on sleeping pills, you’re only going to sleep for a long time and in the worst case scenario get very sick.
Modern sleep aids also incorporate natural ingredients to help people sleep without resorting to chemicals always. Although sleep aids are not a cure for sleep disorders and should not be consumed on a regular basis, they are popular everywhere because they are a fast and easy means of falling and staying asleep. To make sleeping pills safer, there are now the kinds that are made of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Because melatonin is a natural part of our body, consuming melatonin sleep aids are believed to have fewer side effects than regular sleep aids.
But melatonin can also make it hard for you to wake up on time every morning if you don’t know when to time its consumption. In this post, we discuss melatonin production, melatonin sleep aids, and the right time to take it.
What Is Melatonin?
Like all bodily functions, sleep is also controlled by hormones. The hormone for alertness is serotonin, and the hormone for sleep is melatonin. While sunshine and bright lights aid in the production of serotonin, darkness aids in the production of melatonin. Melatonin is normally produced only after sundown.
But hormonal imbalances are common in every individual, and if your melatonin production is not normal, you are going to have sleep issues. Being exposed to bright lights also hinders melatonin production and makes it hard for sleep to come at night. Blue light is one of the worst enemies of melatonin production. If you are exposed to electronic devices most of the time, you are more at risk for suffering from sleep disorders. This is because the blue light emitted from backlit electronic devices significantly hinders melatonin production.
For a healthy sleep-wake cycle, the serotonin and melatonin productions should be in balance. Lack of melatonin causes sleep disorders like insomnia whereas a lack of serotonin causes depression and low energy. Melatonin is produced by the part of the brain called the hypothalamus.
Melatonin Sleep Aid
Sleep aids are known to have various side effects. This led to the development of sleep aids made with melatonin, a hormone that’s naturally present in our bodies. However, melatonin sleep aids aren’t a solution to low melatonin production. They only help you fall asleep by increasing the amount of melatonin in your brain. If you don’t take it, your melatonin levels will go back to their previous state.
Melatonin sleep aids usually come in the form of a pill and should be taken before bedtime. Melatonin supplements are available over-the-counter and don’t require prescriptions. Melatonin supplements are either pure or compounded and added to other products. Pure melatonin supplements are always available as pills or capsules, but when they are mixed to other products, they are also available as liquids or sprays.
Because melatonin supplements are very potent and fast-acting, they should be taken only before bedtime.
Melatonin Supplement Dosage
Generally, melatonin supplements are available as over-the-counter drugs in most pharmacies. But they don’t require a prescription, are not regulated by the FDA, and have no fixed dosage. The appropriate dosage is usually mentioned on the pack but can also be misleading in many cases.
Before taking a melatonin supplement, it is important to consult a healthcare practitioner for the right dosage. Melatonin is more potent and faster acting than most other sleep aids and should be used judiciously to avoid side effects. Unlike other sleep aids, even the lowest dose of melatonin has been found effective in treating sleep issues. You don’t always have to take the highest dose for the maximum effect. To be on the safe side, it’s best to start with the lowest dosage.
There have so far been no adverse effects reported from melatonin supplements. However, the timing is everything in taking melatonin supplements. More important than the dose is the time when you are taking the supplement.
How Long Does Melatonin Last?
A lot of people new to melatonin supplements experience excessive sleepiness during the day after taking sleep aid at night. This is because of wrong timing.
The effects of melatonin last according to the dosage. A dosage of 0.5 mg will last only an hour while a 10 mg dosage will last more than seven hours. It all depends on how severe your condition. If you have infrequent episodes of sleeplessness, then a dosage of one or two milligrams should help you fall asleep. If you’re a chronic insomniac or suffer from the delayed onset of sleep, you need a dosage of 10mg or higher.
The effects of melatonin are also quick to go away. Taking higher doses isn’t the solution here. You simply have to time it right. If you simply want to get better sleep and don’t suffer from a sleep disorder, you should take the supplement no sooner than 30 minutes before going to bed. If you suffer from delayed sleep onset, you should take it at least an hour before going to bed.
If you have been diagnosed with a sleep disorder and also take other sleep aids, you should not start taking a melatonin supplement without consulting a doctor. Melatonin supplements are usually known to be safe and can also be given to children. However, dependence on any sleep aid isn’t recommended.
Although melatonin supplements are considered safer than most other sleep aids, they should be taken only if recommended by a doctor. Consuming the wrong supplements or medications can make your condition grow worse.
If you are looking for a sleep supplement that will keep you asleep, try Sleep Relief. It is biphasic which means different ingredients will kick in at different times so that you stay asleep all night and wake up well-rested. One drawback of this supplement is that the pills are a bit large so may be a turn off if you don’t like swallowing pills. Another option is Olly Sleep Gummies which are chewable and taste great. While they aren’t quite as strong as Sleep Relief, they have other natural ingredients that keep you asleep more than melatonin alone.