Fortunately, here are seven natural decongestion tips to help you stop tossing and turning so you can get a restorative night’s sleep.
1. Rinse away nasal congestion. Wash away gunk that’s interfering with your breathing by doing regular nasal rinses. Nasal rinse kits can be found at most drugstores and are easy and painless to use. Essentially, you are rinsing your nasal cavity with a mixture of distilled water and sodium. This helps to clear your nasal passages and keep them moist. If you’re uncomfortable with a nose rinse, try a saline nasal spray instead.
2. Darken your bedroom. It’s important to create a healthy environment that promotes quality sleep. Because incoming light tells the brain to wake up, try to block morning light from reaching your eyes. You can accomplish this by hanging dark curtains or by wearing a comfortable sleep mask that covers your eyes. Also, if you have a brightly illuminated alarm clock, make sure it’s not facing you during the night.
3. Keep it cool. In your bedroom, set the thermostat low. When your body temperature drops, your brain goes into sleep mode. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that you keep your bedroom between 54º F (12.2º C) and 75º F (23.8º C).
4. Take a hot shower. Before bed, muster the strength to take a hot shower. When you get out, the drop in body temperature helps prepare your brain for sleep. Bonus: Steam loosens congestion and hydrates your nasal and throat passages, helping them decongest naturally.
5. Slip on socks. Put on a pair of cozy socks before you go to bed. According to a Swiss study, warming your feet helps your body relax and puts you in the snooze zone.1
6. Elevate your head. When you’re sick, sleep with your head elevated. Prop yourself up with a few extra pillows or the plump cushions from your sofa. Sleeping elevated helps ease sinus pressure and makes breathing less difficult.
7. Quiet your mind. Even when you’re exhausted and not feeling well, sometimes you can have a mentalblock that prevents you from falling asleep. To get into the right frame of mind, try one of these calming pursuits: Meditate, jot down your thoughts in a journal, listen to soothing music, or read your favorite book.
- Kurt Kräuchi, Christian Cajochen, Esther Werth, Anna Wirz-Justice, Functional link between distal vasodilation and sleep-onset latency?, American Journal of Physiology, 2000; 278(3).