Stuffiness, nasal congestion and obstruction to nasal breathing are different names of the same condition. The problem is reported to be one of the oldest and most common complaints. Sometimes it is just a nuisance, but most frequently it creates a considerable discomfort. While stuffiness is easy to control and prevent during the day, it becomes much more difficult at night. The issue disturbs you all night long, preventing you from healthy sleep and spoiling your rest.
If you cannot live with the condition anymore, it is time to act, look for a solution and start the treatment. However, before treating the symptoms, it is important to find the source of the problem. Once you get to know the reason, it will be much easier for you to get rid of the devastating and disturbing stuffy nose at night.
What Causes Stuffy Nose at Night
There are thousands of possible issues to cause stuffy nose, though pharmacists single out four main reasons for nasal obstruction appearance. They include:
Allergies. Allergy is one of the factors that causes blocked nose at night extremely often. Undiagnosed and correspondingly untreated hypersensitivity to numerous irritations such as dust, cat or dog dander, pollen producing plants, hay fever and others can lead to severe breathing difficulties and the problem of stuffy nose. The peak of allergic outburst happens mainly in early spring, so start the medication intake or take natural remedies to prevent the condition. Apart from stuffy nose at night, allergies cause related issues, including dry cough, sneezing, itching, etc.
Infections. The second top issue that causes stuffy nose is a virus. Usually, people suffer from cold or flu three-four times a year. In children infections appear more often as the immune system if weak, and it strengthens with time. A common cold is usually provoked by one of a huge multitude of viruses that are either airborne or transmitted through hand-to-nose contact. At the time the virus gets to the nose, it stimulates histamine release in the organism (the chemical that speeds up the blood flow to nasal tissues rapidly causing their swelling). At this point, nasal membranes get inflamed and congested with blood, producing a great amount of mucus. The latter is the obvious reason of stuffy nasal airway. While antihistamines and a range of other medications are potent enough to improve the symptoms, some time is needed to cure the condition completely. Viral infections make the nose more sensitive to bacteria, thus, nasal infection is commonly accompanied by symptoms of cold.
Vasomotor rhinitis. Rhinitis is also among the top reasons of blocked nose at night. The condition itself means the inflammation of nasal membranes and nose. Vasomotor presupposes the nerves that maintain the blood vessels. As nasal membranes are filled with capillaries, veins and arteries, the nose is always full of vessels that are constantly expanding and constricting. When a person leads a healthy life and exercises regularly, the adrenaline levels are always produced. They help to constrict blood vessels, allowing a free flow of the air. On the other hand, when an allergy or other condition appears, it causes the vessels to expand and block the air flow, leading to stuffiness in the nose. Among other conditions that may provoke vasomotor rhinitis are psychological or emotional disorders, stress, anxiety, wrong thyroid function, the intake of anti-increased blood pressure medications, overuse or misuse of nasal sprays, etc. The condition is rather easy to treat at the early stages. It is necessary just to fight the source of the problem and correct the situation. However, if not treated at proper time, vasomotor rhinitis aggravates and blood vessels are disabled to constrict. It causes stuffy nose at night, when you lie on one or another side.
Structural abnormalities. This condition is also widely spread, but it is not as common as allergic reactions. They include deformations in the nasal septum and nose, the nasal bone (dividing the nostrils and nose) and the flat cartilage. Such changes usually appear as the result of childhood injuries, and sometimes even gained during the delivery. The condition appears both in adults and children, but their consequences differ greatly. While such deformities obstruct breathing, one can receive surgical help and improve the problem without special effort. However, this method does not always work with children, as their bodies are still developing and surgical interference may lead to multiple complications in the future. The most useful thing to relieve stuffiness of the nose in children is to find the reason of the complication. Another reason of structural nose deformity in kids lies in adenoids enlargement. These are the tissues located behind the palate. This affects the children’s breathing process, making it more difficult and producing diverse side effects, such as snoring and nose stuffiness. Additionally, foreign bodies and tumors can also cause deformation of the nasal organs.
Additionally, the causes of temporary stuffy nose can include the following:
Dry air serves another reason that activates nose stuffiness and makes it difficult to breathe. Besides, dry air worsens nasal soreness, aggravating the sinus issue at night. When you inhale dry air at night, the nose arteries get dry and become filled with mucus that fights insufficient dampness. The condition may be better or worse, depending on the country you live in and peculiarities of your own house.
Pregnancy. During pregnancy the organism of the baby is constantly growing and putting more and more pressure on the diaphragm of the mother. This fact combined with increased blood amount impacts your lungs and sinuses, leading to multiple breathing problems and stuffy nose. Besides, the condition frequently aggravates at night. Additionally, defense mechanisms of the baby weaken the mother’s organism greatly, increasing chances to catch flu, cold or other viral infection and double the nose stuffiness problem.
Diet. Unhealthy diet and deficit in vitamins may cause nose blockage and stimulate the condition aggravation at nighttime. A great number of dairy products, such as milk, sour cream, cheese and others increase production of mucus. The latter, in its turn, boosts the risk of stuffy nose, especially at night. Additionally, imbalanced diet rich in definite products with an insufficient amount of others increases the risk of allergies appearances, with stuffy nose being one of the symptoms. Fatty products, red meat and other foods also speed up mucus production that causes undesirable nasal congestion.
Besides, patients usually experience the combination of these reasons that make the condition extremely unpleasant and hardly curable.
Best Treatment of Stuffy Nose at Night
Being aware of the reason of your nose stuffiness at night is half way to successful treatment, as it enables you to control the source of the illness, thus, overcome its symptoms. After you have learnt the list of stuffy nose causes, you will never ask “Why does my nose get stuffy at night?” again. Single out one or a few possible reasons from a multitude of presented ones and try to find an appropriate solution. Consult your healthcare provider for a faster and more effective action.
Top 10 Home Remedies of Stuffy Nose at Night
These are definitely great options that are cheap, available and rather effective against nasal congestion at night. These are natural remedies that are fully safe and easily applied:
- Eating garlic cloves is one of the most effective ways to relieve the condition and help your nose “breathe”.
- Peal an onion and inhale if for around 5 minutes to achieve the necessary effect.
- Inhale the steam of water mixed with carom seeds and peppermint oil, or other aromatic oils.
- Chew and drink basil. Take 3 basil leaves right before breakfast and before you go to bed. Besides, you can brew basil tea and enjoy the incredible effect from such a simple method. You will feel a significant relief and ease.
- Neti Pot Solution. Saline solution helps to reduce nasal congestion greatly. Combine 2 cups of warm water with a teaspoon of salt. Use a Neti pot for easier appliance.
- Drink ginger tea to forget about stuffy nose. The effect is sufficient for multiple hours, so consuming the tea before sleeping can improve nasal congestion at night.
- Warm compress is probably the most spread and widely used home treatment of stuffy nose. This way is also of great help for those who suffer from chronic sinusitis. Place a warm compress on your nose and feel the relief.
- Keep hydrated. If your nose gets stuffy at night, do not look for a temporary remedy, search for the constant one. Consuming much liquid allows you to unstuff the nose and preserve the achieved effect.
- Eat more spicy food if you are trying to fight nasal congestion at night. Consume red chilies, ginger, garlic and onions with your food, as spicy products make it easier for mucus to flow from nasal passages, producing the desirable results.
- Take a hot shower. Stand under hot water to inhale the steam that will allow mucus to flow faster and let you feel the ease of breathing.
- Pepper, herbal tea, apple cider vinegar, eucalyptus oil, mustard oil, fruit juices, tomato juice, honey, lemon, vinegar, hot soups and other products can bring relief to your blocked nose right at your home and without any special equipment and medications.
Medical Way to Treat the Condition
Despite a great effect of home remedies, they usually offer a temporary action that disappears within a few hours. So, if you cannot imagine how to sleep with a stuffy nose, it is time for more powerful and decisive actions. Call your healthcare provider and check the medications available for your condition. Inform your doctor about all the other medications you are taking and provide a full picture of the health problems you have. It will help a specialist reduce the number of medicines you can take, following their contraindications and interactions, and select the ones useful for you and bringing maximal use. The main medication types frequently prescribed to patients suffering from stuffy nose at night include:
- Nasal antihistamine sprays block histamines that cause inflammation, producing the necessary relief and desirable improvement. The effect of the medication lasts for more than 12 hours that guarantees safe and healthy sleeping.
- Nasal corticosteroids serve as anti-inflammatory remedies that balance the allergic immune response. Only one dose is sufficient for the whole day. Being a very potent treatment, nasal corticosteroids are mainly prescription medicines. There are only two sprays available over-the-counter, such as Flonase and Nasacort.
- A great variety of oral medications can also be administered as useful and effective remedies against blocked nose. They produce a drastic impact on the organism, stimulating the necessary effect. Among the most widely spread medications are Mucinex D, Benadryl, Phenylephrine, Sudogest, Cyproheptadine and others.
Consequences of Undertreated Nasal Congestion
Once your nose gets stuffy at night, you cannot neglect its symptoms and do nothing. Undertreated nasal congestion can produce very dangerous and risky side effects and stimulate the development of more severe conditions. Allergic rhinitis, more known as blocked nose, belongs to a risk factor of asthma development. It is, probably, one of the most devastating consequences arising from such a minor (from the first sight) stuffy nose issue. Besides, depending on the general health of the person, untreated nasal congestion at night may cause a great number of unpleasant or hardly curable complications.