For Children The Nih Offers Some Of The Following Home Care Tips:
- Place a pillow under the head of your childs mattress or find another way to raise the head of your childs bed so that their head is elevated while they sleep.
- Consider adding a cool-mist vaporizer to your childs room, though you should take care to avoid adding too much extra moisture to the air. The vaporizer should be cleaned and disinfected every day.
- Use your shower to steam up the bathroom before your child goes to bed. Bring them in there to breathe the warm, moist air for a little bit to help add moisture to their nasal passages before they go to sleep.
- Encourage your older children to drink extra sugar-free fluids during the day.
- Use gentle saline nasal drops or sprays. You can find these products at drugstores or make them at home with common household ingredients like water, salt, and baking soda.
- Try nasal suctioning with a bulb syringe for infants, which works well for babies under a year old.
Getting a good nights sleep is one ingredient to leading a happy, healthy life. By finding the cause of the nighttime congestion affecting you or your child and taking steps to fix it, you are inviting more restful sleep back into your life. You cannot always avoid a stuffy nose around bedtime, but, with the steps above, you should be able to alleviate your symptoms enough to sleep through the night.
Written byCatherine Poslusny
Nasal Congestion At Night Only
Lying down can make your head feel like its packed with pounds of pressure. The increased blood flow to our upper bodies, including that coming from the neck area and going towards ones face are all too common occurrences when we take a nap during this hectic day or even just relax after work hours! This causes inflammation in parts which could lead us back into congestion due their inflamed passages becoming increasingly swollen over time isnt life grand?
Why Do Stuffy Noses Get Worse At Night
Sometimes when you feel fine during the day, you wake up at night with a stuffy nose. Theres a few reasons that stuffy noses develop and worsen at night.
At the most basic level, when youre lying down, gravity isnt helping to drain the mucus from your nose like it does when youre standing or sitting upright. Without the help of gravity, mucus can accumulate in your nasal cavity while youre asleep and result in a stuffy nose. Also when youre lying down, more blood flows to our heads, which can further inflame the blood vessels in your nose.
If your childs stuffy nose is due to allergies, chances are it will also get worse at night. Oftentimes our body makes less allergy-regulating hormones at night, which makes us more likely to experience the uncomfortable symptoms of allergies such as stuffy noses.
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Take An Otc Decongestant
The last step to take before bed is trying an over-the-counter decongestant. According to a study, decongestants can help relieve congestion symptoms in adults. The temporary soothing effect may set you up for a better nights rest.
You can find decongestants such as Sudafed and Vicks Sinex at most stores. Before taking the medicine, read instructions carefully and be aware of common side effects including nausea, dizziness, and headache.
Disclaimer: You should consult your doctor before taking any medications.
When To Call A Doctor
Most of the time, a stuffy nose will clear up on its own within a week. Nasal congestion that lasts longer may be a sign of a serious sinus infection in need of treatment. You may also want to see a doctor if the symptoms are interfering with sleep or your ability to function normally.
A stuffy nose may require medical attention if:
- You have a high fever.
- Your symptoms last longer than two weeks.
- Your nasal passages are completely blocked.
- Your skin or lips develop a bluish tinge .
- Your breathing rate is very rapid.
- You have difficulty breathing or catching your breath.
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When To See A Doctor
The common cold often causes a stuffy nose. Antibiotics and other medications will not cure the cold virus, so there is little a doctor can do.
It is best to drink plenty of fluids and sleep or rest as much as possible to give the body time to recover.
Symptoms of a common cold can last between 2 days and 2 weeks. People with the flu usually recover , but some symptoms can last for 2 weeks or longer.
See a doctor if:
- A person with a weak immune system, such as an older adult or a baby, develops flu symptoms.
When Should I Contact My Doctor
For the most part, stuffy noses are common amongst children and generally are not a concern or reason to call your pediatrician. That being said, you should call your doctor if your childs stuffy nose and other symptoms do not improve after a few days of remedies and rest. Its also a good idea to contact your doctor if, alongside their stuffy nose, your child has a very high fever or if your infant younger than 3 months has a fever.
If your baby is under 2 months old and they sound congested, its a good idea to contact your doctor, as well. Given that they only breathe through their noses up until the 2 month mark, congestion can cause serious breathing issues.
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What To Consider When Helping A Baby With Congestion
Some doctors advise against treating your newborn’s stuffy nose, especially if they’re feeding well and urinating normally. They argue that it usually isn’t necessary to further irritate a baby’s nasal passage with salt water or bulb syringes.
Others may recommend simple solutions to clear nasal congestion. These include using a humidifier, saline drops, and/or a bulb syringe. “It can be most helpful to remove mucus from your babys nose before feeding so your baby can eat more easily,” explains Dr. Stempel.
Dont Avoid Spicy Foods
Most spicy foods, including hot sauces, curries and salsas, contain a chemical called capsaicin.
This chemical has a thinning effect on mucus, which can relieve some symptoms of nasal congestion. So, dont be afraid to up your spice level! Just dont eat them too close to bedtime. If you suffer from acid reflux, they can upset your stomach further.
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Why Am I Only Congested At Night
Its a strange phenomenon that the nose only seems to get stuffed up at night, right when its most inconvenient. In truth, nasal congestion isnt limited to bedtime, even though it often feels that way.
If your nose is stuffed up at night, its been stuffy all day. During the day youre simply too busy and experience too many other stimuli to notice.
As you get ready to rest, theres nothing to focus on except for breathing, and any difficulty is much more pronounced.
The Best Way To Sleep With A Blocked Nose
All of the above remedies will help, and can be used during the night, but there are some more specific things you can do too. These are some of the best:
- Dont stress. Not being able to sleep is really annoying, but that the problem could get worse if we stress about it. Sometimes accepting the situation will actually help you sleep. The more relaxed you are, the more likely you are to nod off. Do some deep breathing, even listen to a little soothing music whatever you need to do to chill out and let sleep take your body over.
- Try a humidifier. Having a room full of dry air can cause irritation, so the more humidity you can get the better. You can buy a humidifier or place a bowl of water with a few drops of essential oil by your bedside to help ease the congestion.
Keep a box of soft Cushelle Cube Tissues at your bedside. You can use them to blow your nose and dip one in some eucalyptus oil to help clear your airways when you wake too.
- Perfect your sleeping position. Comfort is key when youre trying to catch some zzzs and finding the right blocked-nose sleeping position is certainly going to help. As we sleep, mucus doesnt drain as effectively. That makes the nose even more blocked. So, the best way to sleep with a blocked nose is to prop your head up on an extra pillow or two. Also, its best to sleep on your side if you can as lying on your back could make things worse.
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When Should I See A Doctor For Nasal Congestion
In many cases of nasal congestion, there is no need to see a doctor. For example, if you have a common cold with no complications, or hay fever, you can often manage this yourself. A pharmacist may be able to help advise if you need some over-the-counter medication to help with the symptoms. You should consider seeing a doctor if:
- Your nasal congestion is not getting better after a week or two despite trying the remedies suggested in this leaflet or the leaflet specific to the condition causing it.
- You are not sure what the cause is for your nasal congestion.
- You have any blood in the discharge coming from your nose.
- Only one side of your nose is blocked.
- You or your child are unwell with a high temperature as well as having nasal congestion.
- A baby has nasal congestion and is having difficulties feeding or breathing.
- You feel very unwell.
Problem #: Your Sleeping Conditions
Imagine your bedroom and answer the following questions:
- Are your pets sleeping with you at night?
- Do you drink caffeine before bed?
- Do you drink alcohol before bed?
- Hows the air in your room is it dry?
- Do you go to bed dehydrated?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might have discovered a factor that is affecting your sinuses .
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If You Want A Decongestant
If you dont have underlying health concerns that prevent you from taking a decongestant, heres how to stop feeling so dazed in the cold remedies aisle.
Know that there are two types of OTC decongestants, both of which constrict blood vessels, says Zhou.
Pseudoephedrine is OTC, but pharmacists have to keep it behind the counter and note its purchase . It not only constricts blood vessels, it also somewhat works on the lungs to help open those. It has two mechanisms of action that help you breathe better, she says.
Phenylephrine, the other main type of decongestant that you can just pluck off the shelf, doesnt have that lung action.
The trouble with these at night is that theyre stimulants. So for PM or nighttime formulations, drug companies add something to the meds that help you sleep. If you dont like or need those sedating additions, theres a hack you can try with daytime meds, says Zhou. Try taking a 12-hour formulation about 11 or 12 hours before you want to sleep. It may keep your nose from being blocked long enough to get you to sleep, and hopefully a stuffy nose wont awaken you in the middle of the night.
What about combination products? Those cold meds with something for cough, headache, and congestion? I like combination products if you truly need every ingredient in there, says Zhou. But in general, when it comes to cold medications, more isnt better. Get just the ingredients you need to breathe easier.
Avoid Alcohol Or Caffeine Before Bed
If you want to be congestion-free, you need to skip the nightcap. Alcohol can increase symptoms of congestion. But worse than this, it can also leave you feeling dehydrated which increases sinus pain.
Caffeine is also dehydrating, so its best to stick to water or non-alcoholic drinks such as herbal tea before bed.
These substances dont just make congestion worse, they also negatively impact your sleep. Were sure youve often reached for the kettle when youve been in the need of a pick-me-up and know that caffeine is a great booster for those sleepy mornings.
But caffeine doesnt actually make you less tired. It just blocks your body from feeling the effects by blocking a chemical called adenosine. When it comes to night time, this means that even though youre in desperate need of sleep, your body still wont think its time to send you off.
Alcohol also has a damaging impact on your sleep, despite age-old wife tales that they can help knock you out for the night. What actually happens is that alcohol decreases the amount of melatonin that your body is able to produce. Without melatonin, your circadian rhythm is disturbed, making it harder to regulate your sleep.
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How Can I Tell If My Nasal Congestion Is Something More Serious
Nasal blockage is rarely serious, albeit its usually annoying, uncomfortable and intrusive in that it can prevent sleep and reduce quality of life.
It can be more serious if you notice pain, if its worsening and progressive on one-side or when blood is coming from the nose. If any of these apply, then you should seek the advice of a specialist.
If you want to talk to a specialist about your blocked nose, then dont hesitate and book an appointment with Mr Mike OConnell.
Ask A Pharmacist About Treatment Options
If your blocked nose is really annoying or stubborn, there are over-the-counter treatments. Although these are readily available, speak to a pharmacist first to decide which one is best for you, says Dr Ramskill.
The following treatments are available as nasal sprays or tablets:
These are for short-term relief only, and usually help colds.
SteroidsThese are most helpful for allergies or relieving an ongoing blocked nose.
AntihistaminesThese can help ease allergy symptoms but some can cause drowsiness.
Its best to try decongestants first, but they can actually make things worse if you use them for more than a week, says Dr Ramskill. Steroid sprays are the next option and are fine for long-term use.
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What Causes A Stuffy Nose
Generally speaking, a stuffy nose is caused by rhinitis, or inflammation of the mucus membranes that line the nose. Rhinitis can be caused by allergic or non-allergic triggers.
Some common causes of rhinitis, and therefore a stuffy nose, are:
- Allergies:Seasonal allergies or environmental triggers like smoke, perfume, or dust mites can cause an allergic response. “If a person has a dust mite allergy, close contact with bedding materials, where dust mites often reside, during sleep can lead to allergic nasal congestion,” Kim says.
- Upper respiratory infection: A respiratory infection, like a common cold, can cause congestion. This can worsen at night since nasal passages don’t drain as effectively when lying down, Kim says.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease : If you have acid reflux, lying flat can allow more stomach acid to reach your nasal passages, irritating them and causing a stuffy nose, Kim says.
Note: Structural issues in the nose, like a deviated septum or nasal polyps, can also contribute to a stuffy nose. So can lifestyle and environmental factors, like eating spicy foods, drinking alcohol, or being exposed to smoke, says Kim.
Avoid Blowing Your Nose
When youre sick with a cold, you might have the urge to blow your nose frequently. However, before you reach for the tissues, keep in mind that blowing your nose too hard can cause excess pressure. This strain may cause fluid from your nose to release into your sinuses.
If you do need to use a tissue, try to be as gentle as possible, and dab the area instead of blowing. If you decide to blow your nose, doing so lightly may help avoid any adverse effects.
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Catch Some Zs With Balloon Sinuplasty
Answering the question, Why are my sinuses worse at night? isnt always easy, and addressing your symptoms might take a multipronged approach. If youve lost more nights than you can count to sinus problems caused by sinusitis, allergies, sinusitis and sleep apnea, sinus problems and snoring, nasal polyps or even a deviated septum, it may be time to consider balloon sinuplasty.
As mentioned previously, balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive, in-office procedure that takes less than 20 minutes and provides long-lasting sinus relief. During the procedure, your doctor inserts tiny balloons into your sinus cavities via your nasal passages. When these balloons are expanded, healthy drainage is restored.
Dr. Napoleon G. Bequer of Sinus Solutions of South Florida, a leading Florida ENT, has performed balloon sinuplasty on thousands of Tampa and West Palm Beach-area patients. Hes given them the opportunity to take their life back from chronic sinus problems.
Best Sleep Position For A Blocked Nose
Keeping your head propped up whilst you’re asleep will encourage mucus to flow from the nose and will help take some of the extra pressure away from your head. Simply add an extra pillow or two to do this. If you suffer from symptoms of acid reflux and are worried this could also be adding to your problems with congestion, this tip will also help with the issue!
Along with this, try to sleep on your side rather than on your back. Sleeping on your back allows mucus to build up which will not only make it harder to sleep, it could contribute to snoring as well.
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