Here Is How Sleep Can Help A Cold

Here Is How Sleep Can Help A Cold

Does sleep help a cold? Yes. You might want to buy a lot of drugs and remedy to make it go away. But, based on this science experiment, sleeping will help you bounce back faster

They call it a common cold. One has to wonder if it was named so because of how common it is. Was the "common" attached to the "cold" after it became really common or before? Well, whatever the case, don't underestimate common cold to the extent of refusing to slow down when you have it. This is one of the reasons why common cold takes a longer time to heal in most people. Understandably, life won't wait for you and you have appointments to catch, meetings to attend, a ton of work to do. You tell yourself that it's just common cold and you will rest tomorrow. Besides, how does sleep help a cold? To answer that, in a significant way actually. 

Also known as acute viral rhinopharyngitis, the common cold is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system. So many viruses are responsible for the common cold that the body's immune system isn't able to come up with a defence against every single one of them. It's a bit like being out in the open with a shield in the heat of battle. You keep out some of the danger but you can't keep out all of it. Some common cold symptoms include cough, sore throat, sneezing, mild fever, mild headache, and blocked nose. Some people don't suffer any symptoms though. This is because everyone's immune system reacts in a different way.

How does sleep help a cold?

does sleep help a cold

Whenever you catch a cold there's the urgency to rush into a drugstore and buy some medications to cure your cold. But unless you can buy sleep at a drugstore, the effort is best put into getting some sleep. It is a more potent remedy for a cold. A fact backed up by research.

A research carried out at the University of California in San Francisco, demonstrates just how important sleep is in the curing and prevention of the common cold. UCSF psychologist Aric Prather, Ph.D., used 164 healthy humans to carry out the research. He evaluated each person's sleep pattern for a week, before spraying live cold virus into their noses. The margin between those who slept longer and those who didn't was clear. The result showed that 39% of adults who slept 5 to 6 hours each night got sick. On the side of those who slept for longer periods (7-8 hours), only 18 per cent got sick with a cold. 

Camilo A. Ruiz, DO, FACOI, a medical director at Choice Physicians Sleep Center in South Florida, says sleep helps your body fight the common cold virus faster. "You want to allow for the virus to clear, and for homeostasis to come back, and hopefully recover from it."

When you have a cold, you may notice that even your own body is telling you to sleep. That's because it's working really hard to fight the virus and that's exhausting. "Some people even tell you, When I get cold I feel more sleepy," Camilo added. "We know that infections can act on certain parts of the brain that have to do with alertness and awakening. So, not only is your body working hard to fight the infection, which is fatiguing, but you're also sleepier because you have the virus."

How to sleep better with a cold

does sleep help a cold

If the cold is keeping you up, below are a few measures that can improve your chances of sleeping better.

  • Drink tea with honey 

Honey works well at relieving cough. Plus, it can soothe sore throats. So taking a hot cup of tea with honey in it can work wonders for your cold, allowing you to sleep. The heat from the tea will clear up your nasal passages. 

  • Double your pillow 

Doubling your pillow props your head up. This way you put gravity to good use. It will prevent mucus from collecting and causing you a sore throat. 

  • Take a hot bath

Bathing with hot water achieves almost the same thing hot tea does. It frees your nasal passages and airways, allowing you to breathe easy. Besides, cold or not, bathing before bed improves your chances of sleeping well.

  • Turn on the humidifier 

People with cold don't do well inhaling dry air. A humidifier can solve this problem. A humidifier is a device that injects moisture into the air, making the air you breathe less dry. But you will be doing more harm than good if your humidifier is dirty. It will only blow more dust and bacteria into the air. So make sure it is always clean. 

  • Use salve

If the cough is particularly keeping you awake, try easing it by rubbing a salve on your chest. You can get menthol salves from any drug store in Nigeria. 


For people who may use over-the-counter treatment to cure a cold, most cold medicines are versatile. So check to see which one focuses more on your symptoms before buying.

Read more: Newborn baby cold home remedies

Written by

Lydia Ume