Anyone who has dealt with the common cold knows that the aches, pains, and general discomfort seem to increase during the evening hours. Some people understand that the common cold symptoms are simply more noticeable at night, when there are fewer distractions to pull attention away from the discomfort. However, the fact is that there are one or two factors that may contribute directly or indirectly to an increase in the severity of common cold symptoms during the night.
One factor that may contribute to the additional discomfort of cold symptoms in the evening hours is the fact that the body is now horizontal rather than vertical. Standing or even sitting in an upright position during the daytime distributes the usual amount of pressure or gravity that is constantly applied to the body. When people are lying down in a prone position, that pressure is distributed differently, and may result in additional pressure on the sinus cavities. This phenomenon will certainly increase the level of discomfort experienced by the cold sufferer.
Another aspect of our body function that may play a role in the severity of common cold symptoms is our natural body rhythm or cycle. Sometimes referred to as the circadian cycle, this process adjusts the production of hormones based on the time of day. Hormones that are producing antibodies that fight infection are more active during daylight hours, and slow down production at night. This means that our natural defenses are somewhat weaker at night, and may result in an upswing in the severity of the symptoms of colds.
There are ways to help to minimize the impact of these enhanced common cold symptoms during the evening hours. There are several excellent over the counter nighttime cold systems that will help to alleviate such issues as stuffy noses, headaches, coughs, and general body aches. While the symptoms will not be completely masked, these cold systems will usually control the discomfort of most common cold symptoms and allow the sufferer to get some much needed rest.