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How to Make Sleeping With The Flu Easy

a headshot of our reviewer Connie

Written By Connie

CPD Sleep Consultant

sick man

9 April 2024 5 min read

Sleeping with the flu can be vary annoying. However, it's possible to make it rather easy! Here are a few tips that can help you get some rest while sick with the flu.

Like it’s not enough that the flu is tormenting you whole day long, you are stuck with this annoying thing even when you want to get some much-needed sleep! Sleeping with the flu can be very frustrating, so we decided to give you some advice and hopefully help you get some rest during flu season.

Trying to fall asleep when you are coughing, sneezing and your nose is constantly running is certainly not an easy thing. Luckily, experts have to offer much useful and great advice on that matter! We have listed them all just for you. So, let’s see how you can catch some sleep when having the flu.

Use nose drops and elevate your pillow

The first thing you should try to better your sleep when having the flu is taking the nose drops and using an extra pillow to elevate your head. Nose drops will help your breathing and hopefully, your sinuses won’t be messing with you during the night. Also, you should use the gravity to ease your breathing overnight. Use a bigger pillow, or simply add an extra pillow on top. This way your head will be elevated and you can fall asleep easier.

Try inhalation and/or use a humidifier

an image of a woman sitting next to a humidifier

These are the classic tricks for getting some relief when you have problems with sinuses or a cough. Luckily, these tricks actually work pretty well! When you have the flu, your nostrils get dry and irritated and your airways blocked. Humidity and warm air can help you a lot with unblocking your airways.

These tricks can bring you much wanted relief and ease the flu symptoms. Ask your physician about inhalation methods for the best results! And if you want to get the best humidifier on the market, we have the perfect article for you.

Before going to sleep, eat a light, warm meal

Eating a healthy, warm soup can help you fall asleep when dealing with the flu. First, the warm soup, same as hot tea or warm milk, will bring some relief to your poor sinuses. Secondly, light warm meals such as a soup can make you feel drowsy. So, this is a win-win situation. Choose a healthy vegetable soup to boost your immunity.

Don't overstimulate your brain

playing video games before bed

When you are having the flu, it’s hard to do anything difficult and demanding. As a result, you may rely on movies and TV to pass your time. But, this is not a good thing to do before sleep! Electronics can disrupt your sleep cycles. Plus, watching movies and series before going to sleep can stimulate your brain and make it even harder for you to fall asleep. So, before bedtime, avoid using your phone, playing video-games or watching movies or TV. Try to do this at least an hour before going to bed.

Try a relaxing meditation

a woman meditating

This is something that might just help you the most. Use your breathing to relax, both body and mind. So, the technique goes like this:

  • Breathe in deeply (as much as you can)
  • Hold your breath (try to hold it longer but don’t make it uncomfortable)
  • Exhale deeply (again, as much as you can).

For best results try to maintain discipline concerning the duration of these three breathing stages. Count if it’s easier for you. Do a test before using this technique to see how many seconds of inhaling is comfortable for you. Try, let’s say, five seconds of inhaling, the same for holding and a bit more for exhaling. When you find your magic number, start with relaxation!

For this relaxation technique, the position of the tongue is very important. Stick your tongue to your upper palate and breathe just through your nostrils!

One extra tip

Try to imagine your body relaxing while doing this. Start with visualising that your toes are completely relaxed, then your feet, then your legs then your abdomen and so on. This visualisation will help you to get rid of all of the tension in your body.

When you are completely relaxed you can start visualising yourself gently floating on waves, swinging in the hammock or lying on the beach while the waves are touching your feet. These are just some suggestions, you can imagine something different if that is the thing that you associate with the relaxation the most. The point of this visualisation is to imagine the thing that is the most pleasing and relaxing for you.

Adjust the room temperature

a woman setting up the temperature on a thermostat

The bedroom that is too hot or too cold can make it harder for you to drift away to the dream world. Studies show that people tend to fall asleep easier if the room is slightly colder. So, avoid making your bedroom too hot. Just remember, if you have the flu, don’t go overboard with cooling down your bedroom. So, the moderation is the key when adjusting your room temperature.

Imagine a peaceful place or a pleasant story

This is also an interesting technique that works quite well. When you get to bed try to imagine that you are in the place where you like to be the most, or, the place where you would want to go. What is special about that place? What is so pleasing about it? What are you doing there? Try to think about all of these things and develop a relaxing scenario in your mind.

Also, you can do a similar thing with imagining a story. What would you like to do? Where would you like to go? What are your aims? Try to imagine that you have accomplished these things and that you are now enjoying them. This way you will ease your mind and hopefully redirect your thoughts a bit from the annoying flu.

Take a nice, warm bath

an image of a woman that enjoys a relaxing bath

Certainly, one of the best things that you can do for you when trying to fall asleep is taking a nice, hot bath. This is especially good if you have the flu because warm bath can also bring some relief to your nostrils and airways in general.

Although this is a great relaxation technique, be careful with it if your flu is followed by complications or fever. A warm bath and high temperature sometimes are not a good combination! So, if you just have a light flu, go ahead with the relaxing, warm bath. But, if you have a serious fever, ask your physician for advice first.

Signal your brain that you are preparing for sleep

Make a ritual before going to sleep, something like a combination of all the things that we mentioned above. Take a bath, drink a warm tea, take your drops, relax with breathing and pleasant visualisations. Do this every night, make a habit out of it. Pretty quickly, your brain will realise that all of those steps are signals that you are preparing for sleep.

Pamper yourself

When having an annoying, boring flu you deserve pampering more than ever. Use your most comfortable pillow, your nicest sheets, the best scents for your bath, and all the other things that make you feel pleased and relaxed. This can help your mind to deal with the stress of flu, fever and exhaustion.

You can always ask your doctor for sleeping pills if absolutely nothing else works…

Now, we’ve left this one for the end because we strongly believe that this “technique” should be used only if everything else fails and you are left with no other choice. Even when struggling with the flu, you can relax your mind and body enough to fall asleep in a natural way. But, if your problems with sinuses, pain, stress or fever are simply too big and you just can’t fall asleep no matter what you try, then, ask your doctor about prescribing you some sleeping pills. After all, if you have the flu, a long, healthy sleep is of vital importance for your fast recovery.


We all know how much good and healthy sleep can boost our immune system and help us to beat the flu. Problem is, flu can really make it difficult for us to fall asleep. But don’t despair, as you see, there are many great things that can help you to get a nice rest even when the flu attacks. Use your nose drops before going to bed, avoid electronics and relax in the way that suits you the most! And while sleeping with the flu will never be pleasant, it doesn't have to be torture either.

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About the author

As a CPD certified Sleep Consultant I know how important sleep is. And as a combination sleeper, I have found it difficult to get products to suit my sleep style. I have more than 2 years product testing experience with The Sleep Advisors which means I have slept on, with and under more than 500 products with varying degrees of success. This is added to more than 2 years experience as a product reviewer for Closer, Heat and Grazia magazines, so I've got a rigorous process. I love sharing my sleep testimonials with our readers and hearing their experiences too.
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