The 2018 flu season is already shaping up to be the most widespread outbreak since public health authorities began keeping track years ago. If you’re not already sick, there’s a good chance some of your friends, family members, or colleagues are.
If you are experiencing the dreaded flu symptoms of chills, fatigue, fever and muscle aches, getting a good night’s’ sleep can be difficult.
Rest is key to feeling better and getting relief from flu symptoms, but quality sleep can be hard to come by. Here are seven tips to help you sleep with the flu.
- Position your head higher. Sinus pressure gets worse when you lie down, causing postnasal drip to build up and making you cough. Make a wedge with a few pillows to prop yourself up in bed. You may breathe and sleep a little easier.
- Treat the fever. Fever symptoms often include feelings of cold and hot, which can lead to night sweats. Try using fever-reducing medications before bed to help alleviate night sweats.
- Drink or eat something hot. Breathing the steam from hot soup or drinks can help your dried-out nasal passages, loosen mucus, and make it easier to clear your airways. Add some honey to soothe your throat and help with cough. Alternatively, try taking a hot bath or shower before bed.
- Try cold and flu medicines. There plenty of over-the-counter nighttime medicines for cold and flu symptoms, so make sure you read the labels carefully. Match your symptoms with the right medications, and vasoconstrictors like pseudoephedrine or ephedrine. If you’re not sure what’s right for your symptoms, ask your pharmacist.
- Don’t drink alcohol. Sure, it may make you drowsy. But it actually makes people wake up more during the night. Alcohol can also dry you out, swell your sinuses, and react badly with cold or flu medicines. Wait until you’re feeling better.
- Get up and try something else. Sit in a chair and read for a little while or listen to music. Then, get back into bed when you feel sleepier.
- Turn off and unplug. Keep electronics such as phones, laptops and tablets out of the bedroom as they may disrupt sleep and cause distractions.
If you have the flu along with an existing disease that compromises your immune system, are experiencing a fever above 101 degrees that does not go down with medicine, or are having trouble breathing, call your doctor immediately.
If you have asthma or COPD, you may be at higher risk for complications from the flu. Take extra precautions to avoid getting sick in the first place. Wash your hands thoroughly and often and carry a bottle of hand sanitizer with you. Avoid those who you know are sick or likely to be sick (like young children). Get your annual flu vaccine unless your doctor warns against it. Call your doctor if you begin to feel sick, or if your symptoms begin to flare up. Rest and take it easy if you do get the flu and take over the counter cold medication if your doctor says it is okay.