Embracing Cold and Flu Season: Why Symptoms Worsen at Night
As winter approaches, cold and flu symptoms are bound to make their unwelcome arrival, with sufferers bracing themselves for the sniffles, muscle aches, and sore throat. Many have experienced that these symptoms feel worse after sundown. But have you ever wondered why this happens?
Emerging research suggests that the body’s circadian rhythm, or internal body clock, plays a significant role in making cold and flu symptoms more pronounced at night. Every bodily function is programmed to operate at full capacity at certain times during the day and wind down at others.
When the sun sets, and it’s time for sleep, the brain releases fewer stress hormones and slows down digestive processes. This is when immune cells become more active, causing inflammation to run rampant as they fight viral pathogens. The truth is – immune cells can inadvertently worsen respiratory symptoms, making them feel more severe at night.
Furthermore, the drop in stress hormones like cortisol can worsen inflammation due to its calming effects. The body’s position also contributes to symptom severity, as cough and cold symptoms are exacerbated when one is lying down. Mucus starts to pool in the throat, aggravating the issue, as it doesn’t drain as effectively in this position.
To alleviate these nocturnal battles with cold and flu symptoms, health experts advise staying hydrated and using saline sprays to thin mucus. Menthol-flavored cough lozenges and throat sprays can provide a cooling sensation to ease throat irritation. However, trying to suppress a cough is futile, as it’s simply the body’s way of eliminating irritation. With these insights, you can set the stage for a more comfortable night’s sleep despite the wintertime ailment.