Nighttime Nasal Congestion
Nighttime Nasal Congestion: Is Your Nose Blocking Your Sleep?
Do you dread nighttime because your nose gets stuffy? Is it hard for you to sleep or get good rest because your nose plugs up when you go to bed? It’s pretty common and there are several reasons to explain this phenomenon that may be driving you crazy. Let’s discuss three common reasons.
When you lay down, blood flow changes in your body. Think about it. If your feet are swollen, what should you do? Elevate. Elevation allows blood and fluid to drain back to your heart reducing swelling in your feet. The same thing happens when you lay down. Swollen tissues in your nose, called turbinates, become engorged with blood causing them to increase in size. This swollen tissue fills the space in your nostrils blocking air flow.
When you are laying down, mucous can't drain out your sinuses like it should. This is another reason that can cause your nose to feel stuffy. In the upright position, mucous naturally drains out of your sinuses and nose into the back of your throat before being swallowed. When you are laying down, it's harder for this process to happen so mucous drainage collects in the back of your nose. This makes you feel plugged up.
Your bedroom may be to blame for your nighttime stuffiness. Irritants such as dust mites, pollen, mold, and pet dander could be filling your room. Even if you don’t have environmental allergies, these irritants can still cause your nose to block up. Dust mites live in your bedding and on surfaces. Pollen can enter your room through opened windows or on clothing. Mold may be hidden in damp areas in your room such as an attached bathroom. Pet dander can be anywhere in your room such as in the carpet, on furniture, or in and on your bedding.
Dry air in your bedroom can cause your nose to be stuffy. Your nose is designed to humidify and filter the air that you breathe. If the outside air is too dry, it can cause the mucous membranes inside your nose to dry out too much. This will increase congestion and lessen airflow. The ideal humidity level to maintain in your bedroom is 45%.
While these are three common causes for nighttime stuffiness, if you have known allergies or physical blockage in your nose like a deviated septum, nighttime congestion can be worse. If you smoke or wear a CPAP mask, nighttime congestion can also be worse.
What can you do to breathe easier at night?
- Sleep with your head elevated
- Run beside humidifier
- Take a steam shower/do a facial steam before bed
- Stay hydrated by drinking water during the day
- Do a saline sinus flush before bed
- Use an essential oil diffuser
- Use an essential oil chest rub
- Use a nose strip across the bridge of your nose
- Put a humidifier on your CPAP machine
- Keep your room temperature cool
- Treat known allergies
- Use an antihistamine or nasal steroid spray
- Stop smoking
- Keep pets out your bedroom
- Remove the carpet in your bedroom
- Get a new mattress, pillows and bedding
- Don’t sleep with the windows open
- Check the room for hidden mold build-up
Using a natural inhaler like the Salt Me! Nasal Aroma Inhaler is a great choice to help ease your nighttime nasal congestion. There are three types of inhalers to choose from to meet the needs of your whole family. Better breathing helps promote more relaxing sleep.