Whether you have allergies, the flu, or a common cold, going through a stuffy nose can make you feel uncomfortable and would make for a bothersome night.
Trying to sleep with sinus congestion can be disruptive. The difficulty in breathing makes it harder to relax and get a good night's sleep.
In this article, we discuss different ways that you can get relief for common causes of a stuffy nose, for you to sleep better.
Possible causes of nasal congestion
One of the most common causes of nasal congestion is an allergy (allergic rhinitis); typical suspects are dust, pollen, and animal dander.
Some individuals live with allergies their whole life, and for other people, the allergies begin manifesting during adulthood.
A telltale sign that you're experiencing allergies is sinus congestion coupled with itchy or teary eyes. In some cases, when the mucus has thinned - it may lead to a runny nose.
Regularly cleaning your bedroom helps alleviate the frequency of your allergy attacks. Thorough cleaning can get rid of dust mites which can trigger your allergies before you sleep.
Likewise, if you sleep with pets around, it might be best that your pets do not sleep on your bed, especially when they are shedding.
Having an air purifier inside your room hugely helps in filtering out particles of allergens from being inhaled during your waking hours and in your sleep.
Your physician may also prescribe therapeutic aids such as nasal sprays and antihistamines that can help alleviate your allergy symptoms.
Poor air quality
As mentioned earlier, dust can trigger allergies leading to the sniffles. But apart from dust, the humidity level inside your room can also play a factor.
Dry air or low moisture level in the air causes your nasal passages to dry out. In these cases, your body tries to produce more mucus than required, leading to the stuffiness in your nose.
Addressing the humidity level in your bedroom with the use of humidifiers can do wonders in making your nasal passages moist and healthy.
Another increasingly popular method is to use neti pots before you sleep; the concept is similar to nasal irrigation. Neti pots are designed to flush a sterile saltwater solution through your nasal passages.
If you find neti pots to be uncomfortable to use, saline sprays are an alternative way of irrigating the passages of your nose.
Nasal irrigation not only clears the passages from allergens and possible debris inhaled from poor air quality, but it can also add moisture to address the drying.
Infections can also cause a blocked nose.
If you have the flu, your body responds to it by increasing your overall mucus production to trap out pathogens.
In cases where the stuffy nose is continually bothering you from your daily activities and disrupting your sleep, it's best to seek medical attention.
Ignoring a blocked nose may further aggravate the situation as this may also lead to a sinus infection. Likewise, as you sleep in a lying position, the mucus may flow into your respiratory tract, which can lead to sore throats, sinusitis, or other respiratory infections.
Your doctor may also prescribe some over the counter drugs, like decongestants, to alleviate the symptoms of flu and colds.
Tips to sleep better with a stuffy nose
Elevate your head when sleeping
When we are lying down, more blood flows to our head and nose and pools in that area. By avoiding sleeping while lying flat, you can lessen the mucus build up in your nasal passage.
Having a few extra pillows under your head can be an easy way to relieve a stuffy nose; this allows gravity to do the work for you as you sleep.
Take a nice hot shower
It may sound simplistic, but a hot shower can get rid of a blocked nose. If your shower gets hot enough, the steam from the hot water can loosen up some of the dried-out mucus in your nasal passage.
Having a hot shower can have similar effects as the traditional method of inhaling steam to clear out a stuffy nose.
Try wearing a nasal strip
Nasal strips are very popular over the counter purchase for addressing snoring problems, but they can also be used to help with nasal congestion.
Attaching a nasal strip to your nose can pull out your nostrils, making it easier for you to breathe despite the stuffy nose.
Eat spicy food for dinner
If you've eaten spicy food before, you've probably experienced a bit of your mucus dripping from your nose as you eat.
The capsaicin present in chillies has a thinning effect on mucus which can increase mucus secretion.
Although you might tear up from how hot your food is, spicy food can bring some temporary relief of your stuffy nose.
Use essential oils
Some essential oils are known to have properties that help alleviate nasal congestion, diffusing them allows you to breathe them in.
Tea tree oil has been found to have therapeutic properties that are both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.
Other oils such as peppermint can bring relief to your stuffy nose as well, the menthol scent allows you to breathe easier and can also relax you as you go to sleep.
Diffusing isn't the only way to use essential oils, you can also place a few drops on your pillowcase, so you can enjoy the scents as you sleep.
Use hypoallergenic beddings
As much as you do everything to avoid having a stuffy nose before bed, an often-overlooked factor is the material of your beddings.
Using mattresses with microfilaments like the Ecosa Mattress protects your bed from bacteria and dust mites that can cause a stuffy nose.
Sheets made of bamboo fibres are a great addition to your bedroom too. Not only do they have natural antimicrobial properties -- they're also hypoallergenic!
Check out Ecosa's bamboo bedding here.