Nasal congestion (stuffy nose) due to cough, cold and viral infections is common. But, having a blocked nose for most days can be bothersome, making it hard to perform even simple tasks sleeping. Let’s dive deep into what causes this common issue when you need to see a doctor, and most importantly, how to sleep with a blocked nose.
Too Much Mucus or Something Else?
Contrary to the popular belief that a stuffy nose is the result of too much mucus in the nasal passages, your nose gets stuffed when the blood vessels of your nose become inflamed, causing the tissues lining your nose to swell up. Excess mucus is produced in response to this inflammation. Commonly, a blocked nose occurs due to:
- Chronic rhinitis
- Dust, dry air, car exhaust, etc.
- Common cold
- Hay fever or other allergies
- Sinus infection
- Nasal polyps, sac-like growths of inflamed tissue lining the nose or sinuses
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Smoking can also cause congestion in your nose. Give it up and let your nose and lungs breathe free.
Blocked Nose May Also Cause
- A runny nose
- Discomfort due to crusting
- Facial pain
- Reduced sense of smell
- Irritation or itching in and around your nose
Usually, a stuffy nose relieves within a week. However, in some people, it may linger for 3 months. It could be chronic sinusitis. Speak with an expert to find the right cause behind your stuffy nose.
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When to See a Doctor
Typically, a stuffy nose gets relieved easily with home remedies and is a cause of concern. However, people who should idealy consult a doctor for diagnosis include,
- Elderly, aged 65 and more
- People with a compromised immune system
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Even if you are not among them, you should see your doctor if you experience:
- Shortness of breath
- Fever with high temperature
- Nasal discharge in green or yellow color with sinus pain
- Nasal discharge contains pus or blood
Consult a doctor if your problem continues for more than 3 days, or if you are suffering from fever as well.
4 Tips to Sleep Better with a Blocked Nose
1. Elevate your head with pillows
Lie down on your back and use an extra pillow to elevate your head. This can help drain mucus and relieve pressure in the sinuses.
2. Take Steam before bed
Stearn is a simple yet very effective way to loosen the mucus in your nasal passages and improve congestion. Place a towel over your head while leaning over the steam container. This helps trap steam. Take extra care not to scald your face on the water or steam.
You can use a decent-sized kitchen container for taking steam or try a vaporizer. It is a convenient, effective, and portable solution that facilitates steam inhalation at home.
3. Use a humidifier
If your room’s air is dry, it can irritate the nasal passages. Humidifiers help by adding moisture to Ine air and can make it feel easier to breathe. While a humidifier may not technically reduce indoor pollution, the increased humidity helps in relieving effects like chapped lips, dry skin, etc.
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4. Take medicines
Decongestants can help clear out your nasal passages and bring relief. In general, you shouldn’t take a decongestant for more than 3 days without a doctor’s supervision. Take antihistamines or allergy medications only as prescribed by your doctor.
Along with these bed-time measures, make sure to take adequate rest and stay hydrated during the day to get relief from a blocked nose.
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