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Sleeping through the night with Colds or Allergies

Sleeping through the night with a cold or allergies can be a challenge. Here are a few tips to help you and your family get through the night when cold or allergy symptoms strike:

Find the right product for nighttime symptom relief. Choose a "nighttime" or "PM" cold or allergy product to help relieve your symptoms so you can sleep better. Ask your pharmacist to recommend an over-the-counter product that will help you sleep through the night.

Set the stage for a good night's sleep. Your bedroom should be quiet and comfortable with no distractions such as unwanted light and noise. If you use a humidifier in the bedroom, look for one that has a soft-sounding motor that is soothing. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, heavy foods, stressful activities, and vigorous exercise before bed. Give yourself a bit of "quiet time" before bed to relax and let go of the worries of the day.

Remove allergy triggers. If you have allergies, get rid of any allergy triggers lurking in your bedroom: don't let pets stay in the bedroom, remove carpets, have someone vacuum regularly (if you must vacuum it yourself, wear a mask), consider using hypoallergenic bedding and pillows, wash your bedding and pillows in hot water at least once a week, and keep your bedroom dehumidifier clean. Read "How can you reduce allergens in your home?" to learn more about how to reduce allergens in your home.

Have the right supplies on hand, and practice good hygiene. Whether you have a cold or allergies, it's important to have plenty of good quality tissues on hand. Keep a box near your bed, as well as a container to dispose of the tissues. Tissues with lotion can help keep your nose moisturized and soothe a sore nose. Remember to throw away used tissues immediately. Wash your hands when you get up in the morning and before having contact with anyone in your family. For example, wash your hands before going to comfort a child who has woken up in the night.

Special tips for kids: Put a box of tissues strong enough to hold your kid's biggest sneezes by their bed. Teach your child to blow their nose and dispose of used tissues right away. And give them a bit of extra loving care. For babies, it may help to give them a massage before bed using a relaxing baby rub or baby massage gel, free of camphor, menthol, or eucalyptus. Remember that over-the-counter cold medications* aren't recommended for children under 6 years of age. For children over 6, use an oral syringe to measure liquid doses, and don't use more than one product at a time (many cold and allergy medications contain the same ingredients).