Is Your Cold Worst At Night?


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   Does your cold feel worst at night? I know mine does.  I always wondered why this happened and I have discovered some of the reasons why. 
   One of the biggest reasons why your cold symptoms get worst at night is because of gravity. Mitchell Blass, MD, an infectious disease specialist and physician said, "When we lie down, the gastroesophageal reflex kicks in because mucus automatically begins to pool."  The doctor suggests that we prop up a pillow when going to sleep.  This fights the gravity at night.  Since we are standing or sitting up most of the day, this keeps our body elevated throughout the day, as opposed to at night when we are laying horizontally instead of vertically.  
    Another reason for our colds feeling worst at night is the environment.  Typically at night the weather gets more dry especially when being indoors about to go to sleep.  Most people try to use a humidifier to make the air more moist.  However, if the humidifier is not done the right way, it can cause more problems than one may have already had.  If the water is not sterile, this can make more bacteria circulate in the air, spreading more disease.  
    Lastly, our body has something called the circadian cycle.  This is the process that adjusts the production of hormones based on the time of day.  Our bodies produce something called antibodies.  Antibodies are produced to fight off disease.  The production of these bacteria defenders varies throughout the day.  They produce more during daylight hours and the production slows down at night.  This makes our bodies natural defenses weaker at night.  
    Are you annoyed with your cold?  I know I always am.  However, it has been proven that coughs are actually really important when we are sick.  This keeps our throat and airways clear as well as breaking up the mucus which helps our body get better.  
    Many people I know are getting sick right now.  For my fellow students reading this right now, if you have a cold, try propping up your pillow tonight.  Try to fight the gravity by being inclined and more vertical instead of completely horizontal and see if it works.  Then comment on my blog your results! I'm looking forward to hearing from all of you. 

5 Comments

I can definitely relate to this. A lot of times in the morning, I feel sick (stuffy nose, sore throat, etc.) and then the symptoms go away throughout the day. I have always thought this was because of my air conditioning running...I know many people who have the same symptoms when they have their air on. Now that I read this, I will definitely try sleeping on an incline and see if it helps (especially since I feel an actual cold coming on.)

Very interesting article! I am the same way and never knew why. I hate the feeling of being stuffy at night/ when i wake up. That is crazy that the cause of this problem is due to gravity. I purchased a dehumidifier recently and it seems to work pretty well but i still experience a few of the same symptoms. I will try the incline approach tonight and hopefully I feel better in the morning. Thanks for the great advice!

Colds are the absolute worst thing ever! Especially laying down for bed at night and you know when you wake up in the morning you're going to feel a million times worse. It's even worse now in a gimpy dorm room bed, compared to your bed at home. I always try to stack my head on 3 pillows to stay elevated but in reality the cold still wins in the morning.

I hate this feeling! I usually can't sleep when I have a cold if I don't take NyQuil, or something to the same effect. However, it is extremely easy for me to take naps and fall asleep during the day when I have a cold. Could this be because of the changing environment from day to night that you mentioned? I wonder if it has anything to do with the position of the sun or something...far fetched, but you never know!

Sleeping with a cold is the absolute worst! I've never slept with my pillow at an incline before so I'll definitely try that. I also use breathe right strips which help a little. Do you think using a saline nasal spray before going to bed would do as much as using a humidifier?

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