When You’re Sick, Sleep {And other words of wisdom.}

Last week, in the midst of half a dozen guys tearing a hole through my living room floor and traipsing through my messy house to measure and move plumbing, I felt the crud coming on. The coughing, the sneezing, the sinus pressure. By the next day my whole body was achy. The day after that, my husband took a sick day so that I could have a sick day. Yuck.

Since then, I’ve had several people recount their own recent week-long sinus battles, and think I’ve actually fared pretty well all things considered. Here’s what I did to beat a sinus infection before it beat me.

1. Nasal rinse.

The single most important tool in my home when we have any sinus troubles is our Neti Pot. I do a rinse every night before bed, and again during the day if needed. The key for me is to do the rinse before I’m completely clogged up so that the water can get through. (If I don’t catch it before then, it just takes a lot longer to open up.) It feels funny; a little uncomfortable, even, as the salt burns through the crud, but ohmyword, getting all that junk out of there to breathe better is so very worth it!

2. Push fluids.

There were times I didn’t have much appetite, and my default was to forget to even drink anything. Bad idea. It’s so important to stay hydrated and keep the fluids flowing, especially when thick, sticky mucous is trying to take over. My healing beverage of choice was hot peppermint tea with a drop of peppermint essential oil. I also stocked up on Emergen-C and even some GingerAle. It’s usually just water around here, but I tried to keep it interesting so that drinking sounded good. Pushing fluids helps push the mucous through, which for me, prevented it sitting there and hurting my throat. No sore throat last week!

3. Oil up.

My nightly routine has been to soak in a hot bath with peppermint oil-laced epsom salts. The epsom salts bring a whole host of benefits, including detox and replenishing minerals, and the peppermint oil help open my sinuses before bed. One night I got out my EO reference book and looked up all the oils I had that were helpful for congestion. I smeared my sinuses, ears, throat, chest and back before bed, and made sure the diffuser was on. At 3:00 that morning, I woke up and spit and blew and coughed up so much junk for the next 2 hours. Icky? Yep. Annoying that it  was the middle of the night? Uh-huh. But what a turnaround when it all loosened up like that. Sitting, stuck mucous easily becomes infected. I’d rather be up blowing.

4. Sleep it off.

Mom doesn’t get sick days. I get that. But I slept, anyway. I got a substitute for Wednesday night church class. I took my two littles to bed with me during the day, Mr. 3 happily playing the tablet until he fell asleep, Miss 1 napping with me. I’ve let videos entertain while we all 3 piled and snuggled in the recliner. When it got really bad on Thursday and I knew my husband wouldn’t be home that evening, I solicited help from the big kids. “Go to bed, Mom. We’ve got this!” and they did. So very proud of how they took over so I could sleep.

Sleep heals. Make it happen.

5. Give it time.

I was miserable for 3 days. Feeling pretty yucky for another 2. I’m still blowing the gunk out, especially in the morning. Colds and congestion don’t come and go in a day. It’s not a drive-thru illness. Our immune systems are designed to kick all manner of colds and crud, but it takes time.

What are your most effective methods to kick illness to the curb? How do you find extra sleep time in a busy day?

This unsolicited sicky advice is brought to you by me, just an ordinary mom who sometimes gets sick, and is sponsored by my Serta Ambassadorship. Please pass the neti pot and my Serta mattress! The Corbin Firm combines the benefits of Serta’s revolutionary Cool Action material with the feel of a traditional firm mattress. Our exclusive Cool Action Gel Memory Foam provides pressure-relieving comfort while a layer of Serta® Support foam gives the bed a firmer feel at the sleep surface. Plus, our Duet Coil Individually Wrapped Coil-in Coil System responds to each sleeper individually to provide the essential support needed for correct postural alignment. Pricing and availability varies by retailer; see store for details.



  1. So glad it is on it’s way out for you. I was able to conquer my sinus issues with many of the same remedies you mentioned (yay, Neti Pot!!) but still have a horrid, hacking cough that will not go away. Since I know many others still fighting it also, I figure it is just going to take time. I also use fresh lemon in a mug of hot tea to help break up the gunk.. Hope the rest of your family stays healthy and you have a wonderful Christmas. 🙂

  2. If you will add zinc to your daily vitamins (which I hope you are taking since you still nurse and even if you weren’t nursing), you will find that even when you do catch a cold or sinus problem, it will be short lived (easily half the regular duration) and it will be much milder. I have had a colds before that no one could even tell I had it, it was so mild. None of that stuffy, nose congestion, it was really mainly an irritation for me and was over quickly.

  3. I know I’m a bit late to the game here, but I second the recommendation to take zinc. You don’t have to take it every day–just keep it on hand and start taking it if a cold comes on. I decided to try it this year after several of my naturally-oriented friends (some of them nurses) recommended it, and it is amazing. I usually get one or two colds each winter, and they’re always the same: a bunch of congestion, drainage, and sinus pressure, sometimes with a few aches, for about a week. Zinc halves the duration and makes my symptoms less severe.

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