Why are colds worse at night?

Do you ever find yourself sniffling and coughing uncontrollably while lying in bed? It’s no secret that colds can make us feel miserable, but have you ever noticed that they often seem to get worse at night? You’re not alone – many people report experiencing increased cold symptoms during the nighttime hours. So why is it that we feel so much worse when the sun goes down? Let’s explore some possible reasons.

The Immune System Connection

Our immune systems are crucial in fighting off infections, including the common cold. But did you know our immunity function varies depending on time of day? Research suggests our bodies’ temperature, hormone levels and other essential biochemical factors fluctuate throughout a 24-hour cycle. That includes key elements such as white blood cells, which help fight viruses like those responsible for causing your pesky runny nose or hacking cough.

Studies suggest our bodies produce higher levels of certain inflammatory chemicals linked with illness later in the day particularly into early morning hours (1). Afternoon/evenings conversely appears to be a period where natural killer cell activity tends to lower making vulnerable especially anyone already weakened from disease or chronic health conditions (2,3)

This natural variation could explain why somebody might notice more mucus buildup or discomfort occurring well after dinner has concluded – When inflammation production circulates around their system quite quickly finally peak ‘As if waiting by midnight just before any sort of healing happens’

In short: Our immune responses may weaken during regular sleep times (when also required for recovery) leaving pro-inflammatory oxidative stress components readily available contributing towards worsening on-off sniffles.

Temperature Influence

Lower environmental temperatures tend affect negatively almost all human body functions one major reason being constricted nasal passages or blocked sinuses – For these predisposed situation expect dryness against skin surfaces ultimately increasing chances inhaling irritants either viral or bacterial.

Avoidance of anything extremely cold can go a long way in minimizing effects associated with cold virus infection to sleep time comfort. While heating bills might make want throw on thermostat upon arrival home, sudden bursts warm air may lead disturbances instead seeking wear multiple layered clothing slowly warming your temperature over time will help support healthy breathing ability.

In short: Notably too high nor too low temperatures protect our bodies from severe health consequences, aiming for small ranges that feel comfortable likely benefit improving symptoms like blocked sinuses and coughing at night specially when returning sweaty-hot humidity after sleeping during the summer season

Dehydration Factors

Not only is adequate hydration critical when we’re feeling sick but so too is choosing drinks that facilitate all bodily processes similarly fighting off minor illness onset that often exhibit worsening later evening hours as noted above (1). These include mainly water-based fluids tailored towards maintaining balanced electrolyte levels since common complaints while undergoing viral infections tend experience ‘brain fog’ tiredness lethargy abnormalities these chemicals specifically sodium chloride prevent excess exhaustion next day potentially mitigating early bed retirements (4).

A simple diagram below illustrates some of beverages offer optimal nutrients capable providing relief during respiratory illnesses:

Beverage Why It Helps
Herbal Tea Consists anti-inflammatory compounds easing congestion within upper airways
Warm Soup Moisturizes dry nasal- passageways+ Promotes metabolic rate enabling easier breakdown mucus deposits into thinner liquid production
Orange Juice/Bone Broths/Apple Cider Vinegar(Brands you trust)/Watermelon Juice Great sources Vitamin C and antioxidants widely known immune system boosters helping restore lost nutrient levels

It’s important keeping hydrate even if it becomes tough reaching desired intake quantity due hurting throat or work-related schedule turning chances remove contaminants infected systems responsible causing specific discomfort (4). One might want to ease strained passageways by simply holding head over steamy bowl water ideally adding a few drops Eucalyptus oil either drinking hot honey-lemon mixture ️just before bed what provides soothing comfort during night-time sleep as well.

In short: Drinking fluids-like lukewarm blended soups with vegetables is the key. Some even offer additional skincare benefits like glowing complexion overall appearance maintenance after enough ingestion.

Environmental Factors

Certain environmental conditions affect respiratory tract functions notably smoking heavily chemical-smelling rooms crowding without ventilation sometimes making condition exacerbation very stressful for those already under uncomfortable health status knowingly or unknowingly prevalent indoors / outdoors.. According to the American Lung Association, individuals who smoke poses increased risks of acquiring an upper respiratory infection like common cold, often being contagious experiencing symptoms more severe than others exposed within same spaces.(5)

Additionally knowing worsening fluids component in early mornings – Late evenings lead several unfavorable situations some homes typically containing highly porous objects where there difficult keeping existing high moisture content specifically bathrooms/small spaces right through usage humidifiers/dehumidifier mechanism may alleviate stuffiness symptom persistence consistency rate further enhancing uplifting holiday spirits (6).

In short: Ensure your bedroom or areas you regularly spend time have proper ventilation, check humidity levels that creates mold-inducing activities and if housemates are heavy smokers try minimizing contacts while at home besides opening windows/doors just whenever possible.

Sleep Disruptions

Quality sleep benefits immune function, so it should be no surprise lack thereof can contribute towards troubling wellness outcomes such cold sore throat development sharp headaches increased heart rates etc(7) . Sleep deprivation causes stress hormone cortisol elevated impacted negatively all innate response hence less effective performance against harmful infections seeking human host system therefore could mean going longer suffering periods since requirements bodily recovery usually occur nighttime hours. Making best efforts turning off digital devices maintain complete calming dark silence environment helpful introduction deep breathing exercise also highlight comfort products which make sleep easier (8).

In short: Use scented candles dim lights while you prepare for bed .. turn off all electronic devices keeping everything out of arm’s reach If possible add light breathing techniques such as ‘Box Breathing’ 4-5 second inhalation hold it then release causing mild symmetric dyspnoea remembering no strenuous exercises before bedtime!


While we can’t always avoid catching a cold, understanding the factors that contribute to worsened symptoms during nighttime hours can help us manage our discomfort and promote more restful sleep. Staying hydrated, avoiding extreme temperatures, maintaining good air quality, and prioritizing healthy sleep habits are just some of the ways we can support our immune systems and mitigate the effects of colds. So next time you find yourself feeling under the weather after dark, know that there are steps you can take to ease your symptoms – even if they won’t magically disappear overnight.

1. First Effect
2. Second Effect
3. Third Position Statement
4. Fourth Mention
5 & 6.Lung Association’s Press Release
7.Sleep Study Outcome Class C Publication
8.Sleep Innovation Techniques

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