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Health & Lifestyle

Top Tips On How To Sleep With A Blocked Nose

In this article

It’s officially well into stuffy nose season, and trying to get to sleep when you have a blocked nose can feel like an impossible task. That feeling of wishing you hadn’t taken it for granted when you could actually breathe through both nostrils? We understand.

That’s why we’ve collated our top tips on how to get to sleep with a blocked nose, so you can enjoy a rejuvenating night’s rest to help you feel back to normal faster.

Woman sat up in bed unblocking her nose with a tissue.

Why is sleeping with a blocked nose so difficult?

A blocked nose feels worse at night because gravity is working against you. Lying down means mucus and other bodily fluids can’t drip down from your nose into your throat and clear your airways.

You can sleep easier with a blocked nose by propping your head up with a pillow or two, so you’re elevated enough to let the mucus from your nose flow as it should, rather than staying trapped in your sinuses.

It’s also harder to sleep with a stuffy nose because as you lay down, blood flows to the nasal passages, worsening inflammation and obstructing your airways. Again, propping your head up is the best way to relieve this, and try to sleep with your mouth open if you can.

Don't worry, though - we're about to unearth the secrets of how to sleep with a blocked nose, so you can get the rest you need. For even more tips on sleeping with congestion, read our Expert Ways To Sleep With Seasonal Allergies guide.

Which side is it best to sleep on with a blocked nose?

The best position to sleep on to unclog your nose is on your back with your head elevated, as mentioned. However, if you don’t find sleeping on your back comfortable, sleeping on your side will help open your airways so you can breathe more easily.

The best side to sleep on with a blocked nose is your right side, as this opens your airways more effectively. For more information on how to sleep if you're struggling to breathe, you can read our guide on The Best Sleeping Positions For Breathing Problems.

An adjustable pillow will become your best friend when it comes to sleeping with a blocked nose. Modern, innovative pillows feature fillings that can be removed or added to adjust to your specific sleep needs. If you’re prone to a blocked nose, we’d recommend investing in an adjustable pillow, as you can easily plump the pillow up with more fillings to help raise your head, and then remove some fillings when you want to be more horizontal again.

How to ease a blocked nose at night?

A stuffed nose can be very impractical to sleep with, especially if it's running like a tap! Here are three tips to ease your symptoms if you’re not sure how to get to sleep with a blocked nose:

  1. As we keep mentioning, tilt your head up! This will seriously help to relieve your blocked nose, as your body will more easily drain mucus and other nasty bodily fluids with the help of gravity.
  2. Place a warm flannel on your cheeks. This will help to reduce inflammation in your sinuses, which will not only ease any sinus pain you might be experiencing, but also help mucus flow more easily to the right places and unblock your nose.
  3. The traditional hot tea method - there’s a reason it’s always recommended! Hot water with honey and lemon can help give the effect of immediately relieving blocked sinuses, while honey has natural anti-inflammatory properties, and lemon is packed full of antioxidants. Plus, there are certain teas that can help you get to sleep if your illness is keeping you awake, read our 6 Most Effective Sleep-Enhancing Teas post to see how peppermint tea can always help ease the symptoms of a cold.
Senior woman checking body temperature of her adult daughter.

Is it dangerous to sleep with a blocked nose?

While uncomfortable, it’s not dangerous to sleep with a blocked nose. Your body will automatically switch to mouth breathing if it realises you’re not getting enough oxygen through your nose. This is one of the many reasons you shouldn’t engage in the mouth taping trend, where you literally tape your mouth shut - this prevents your body from being able to easily switch to breathing through your mouth.

When it comes to sleeping when you’re ill, we’ve got you covered. Check out our guides Top Tips On Sleeping With a Cough or even How To Sleep With Period Pains to get you sleeping properly every night, no matter what.

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