While COVID-19 continues to be a health concern, this allergy season has been more unforgiving than most, and you can’t ignore something as uncomfortable as your sinuses. One minute you think your sinus issues are getting better, but next thing you know, you lay down, your nose gets stuffy, and you’re stuck staring at the ceiling wondering why they worsen at night.
The answer to this isn’t always necessarily straightforward as it can vary for every individual. The universal truth is that if your nose is blocked at night on one side or both, or if you’re dealing with any other sinus-related problem, your chances of getting sleep in are slim.
But there’s no need to stress. The McAllen certified physician assistant Jonathan Lerma and his loyal team of sinus relief specialists at the Glatz Group of Valley ENT will list four of the most common conditions or factors that may worsen your sinuses at night, as well as potential solutions you can take to find relief.
Potential Causes of Increased Congestion and Sinus Issues At Night
When it comes to determining what makes your sinuses worse at night, a good place to begin is to ask yourself which sinus-related issues or household circumstances you go through.
It is worth noting, however, that your sinus problems may worsen at night since you’re less distracted and paying more attention to how you feel.
While this might be true to a certain extent, paying attention doesn’t lead to sinus symptoms. Sinus issues create sinus symptoms. Here are some potential factors to consider:
1.Your Sleeping Conditions
Imagine your bedroom and ask yourself the following questions:
- Are your pets sleeping with you at night?
- Do you drink coffee before bed?
- Do you drink alcohol before bed?
- How’s the air quality in your room — is it dry?
- Do you go to bed dehydrated?
If you answered “yes” to any of the following, you might have noticed a factor that is impacting both your sinuses and your sleep.
Adjusting Your Sleeping Environment to Help Control Sinuses
If you only experience a nose blockage when the night hits, making these adjustments in your bedroom could help relieve your congestion:
- Keep your pets out of your bedroom, especially if you’re allergic to pet dander or dust.
- If the air in your house is generally dry, invest in a humidifier. This is especially imperative throughout the winter months when the air is typically drier.
- Avoid drinking alcohol and coffee before bed. Both can leave you feeling dehydrated, which can irritate your sinuses.
- Stay hydrated. Hydration will help you feel better as a whole, but it may also function to alleviate some sinus pain.
2.Laying Down, Gravity, and Blood Pressure
Many patients are surprised to find out the role gravity and blood pressure play in making sinus issues worse.
While you’re sitting up and standing throughout the day, your blood circulates through your body, with blood pressure and the forces of gravity influencing how easy it is for your blood to get to your head and sinuses. On top of that, when you’re vertical, gravity also helps your sinuses drain down your esophagus and into your stomach.
When you lie down on the other hand, your body doesn’t have to fight as much to deliver blood to your head. Increased blood flow in the blood vessels of your sinuses may result in sinus congestion, pressure, and pain. When that happens, gravity is no longer helping your sinuses drain, but instead increasing your chances of experiencing those same issues.
These nighttime sinus circumstances can affect those who have little to no sinus symptoms during the day. If you’re also suffering from sinusitis, GERD, or allergies, these circumstances can get aggravate already inflamed blood vessels and exacerbate other related problems.
The Ideal Sleeping Position When Dealing With a Stuffy Nose
The best sleeping position for sinus drainage problems and other sinus issues is to sleep with your head propped up. Sleeping with your head propped up will help gravity naturally drain your sinuses and reduce the chance of excessive blood flow that can develop sinus congestion.
Sinus infections, or sinusitis, are hard to miss. Your drainage problems and inflamed blood vessels may get worse when you lay down.
Because of this, propping up your head while sleeping might not be sufficient; you’ll probably have no choice but to tackle the sinus infection itself. Many sinus infections will go away with OTC medication and rest, but chronic sinus infections usually require further treatment.
If you have chronic sinus infections that interrupt your sleep, you may have to meet with your doctor to discuss your options. We encourage you to ask your doctor about Balloon Sinuplasty, a minimally invasive, in-office procedure that provides long-lasting sinus relief.
Another possible factor to your sinuses getting worse at night is GERD, short for gastroesophageal reflux disease. GERD takes place when acid from your stomach re-enters your esophagus because of a damaged or impaired esophageal valve.
This occurs more frequently at night while you’re lying down. GERD usually affects the back of the throat, leading to coughing, post-nasal drip, and even nausea. Since the throat is connected to your sinus passages, more doctors have started associating GERD with causing sinus problems.
Solutions for GERD-Related Sinus Issues
The best way to target GERD-related sinus problems is to decrease the amount of acid that aggravates your throat. You can accomplish this by simply avoiding eating just before bed and speak to your doctor about antacids and proton pump inhibitors. Weight loss also could help relieve GERD.
Patients with allergies tend to suspect that their nighttime sinus issues come from allergies, but many are still left wondering why their nose gets clogged at night. As with sinus infections, allergies may exacerbate the sinus-related symptoms you face as a result of the effects of gravity and blood pressure when lying down.
How to Give NightTime Allergies A Rest
Allergy-related nasal congestion at night might simply happen due to the fact that your bedroom is not enough to protect your body against allergens (pets may sleep there, the air filter or sheets may have to be changed, etc.). However, you might also have to take an antihistamine before bed to help lessen the inflammation caused by allergies from worsening.
Stop Counting Sheep and Get Proper Sleep With Balloon Sinuplasty
If you’ve lost more nights than you can count to sinus issues caused by sinusitis, allergies, or even a deviated septum, it may be time to consider balloon sinuplasty.
During the procedure, a small balloon is inserted into your sinus cavities through your nasal passageways. When these balloons are expanded, healthy drainage is restored.
Catch Some Z’s Again When You See the Glatz Group of Valley ENT
If your sinuses do not go away after trying the approaches mentioned above, you are welcome to set up an appointment with us where you can either have your symptoms addressed online through our telemedicine services or via phone call if you are in need of a procedure done in our office.
We will continue to keep our office a safe, clean space for our patients and staff members alike amid the COVID-19 pandemic.