Boogey Nights
February 10, 2009 6:11 PM   Subscribe

Nocturnal nose-picking: how to stop something I'm not even aware of doing? [slightly gross details follow]

From the number of, um, magic nose goblins around the bed in the morning, it is evident that I pick my nose in my sleep. The quantity of nostril shrapnel evinced nightly is alarming, and ms scruss finds it unattractive.

I've tried to cut down on dairy products before bed, to little effect. Sprays help a little, but have strict limits on how often you can use them. Any other suggestions, short of hypnotism or a Dremel tool?
posted by scruss to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Wear socks on your hands when you sleep.
posted by pluckysparrow at 6:14 PM on February 10, 2009

This may or may not be useful, but maybe you should pick your nose during the day. Everyone pretends they don't do it and everyone does it. OK, maybe not everyone - but I do it and so do many other people I know. I get the impression you're squeamish about this, but don't be, it's normal. Get rid of that stuff before you go to bed and your problem is half-solved.
posted by cincinnatus c at 6:27 PM on February 10, 2009

add an inspection and good mining expedition to the pre-bedtime routine .. might at least reduce the volume...

And .. I do love that tag line...
posted by Weaslegirl at 6:28 PM on February 10, 2009

Response by poster: cincinnatus c, Weaslegirl: I do actually pre-mine (or, to over-extend the disco imagery, ... till I just can't boogey no more) but it has little effect. My supply seems (unfortunately) limitless.
posted by scruss at 6:38 PM on February 10, 2009

just to be contrary, what if you tried not picking your nose during the day and blow instead? maybe if you break the daytime digging habit you won't reflexively do it in your sleep.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 6:43 PM on February 10, 2009

Best answer: Neti pot before bed.
posted by nicwolff at 7:00 PM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: what I meant to say was: I do do a pre-bed nose clean. I'm not given to daytime nasal safaris, as sergeant sandwich insinuated.

Major nasal irrigation makes me gag, and/or sneeze uncontrollably.
posted by scruss at 7:10 PM on February 10, 2009

My son used to do this when he slept and wake up with nose bleeds, completely baffled as to their cause. Once we figured it out, he started wearing mittens to bed. It seemed silly, but it totally worked to break the habit.
posted by routergirl at 7:18 PM on February 10, 2009

? ;)

Could it be the environment you're in causing you to overproduce? Seemingly this isn't happening in the daytime, so... is your air at home dry? Particularly polluted? Could you be allergic to something there? I'm not actually sure what causes excess nasal mucus production but maybe someone more qualified could weigh in on that?
posted by springbound at 7:34 PM on February 10, 2009

2nding mittens or socks. Though if you pull them off while you sleep to do the deed I don't really know what to say. Nose plugs or a nose clip would prevent access but breathing through your mouth all night isn't so great either. Maybe a piece of surgical tape or a band-aid loosely across the front of your nose, enough so that a finger will be dissuaded but not enough to get in the way of breathing.

As a last resort a spousal elbow in the ribs will quickly correct all sorts of problems.
posted by Ookseer at 7:48 PM on February 10, 2009

If you're cleaning out your nose every night before going to sleep, are you 100% sure that you're the one with the nighttime nose-picking habit and not ms. scruss?
posted by clarahamster at 8:06 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yeah, if you're overproducing at night, that might be why you're pickin' in the first place.

The wife and I spent the weekend away. The "cabin" had central air, whereas we have steam radiators at home. I woke Sunday morning with a frankly prodigious amount of boogerage. I mean, it was a test of skill! So there may be an environmental aspect to consider - try humidifying.
posted by notsnot at 8:18 PM on February 10, 2009

I just had to comment to say how superb your title for this question is. Boogie Nights indeed.

Wear mittens to bed. Routergirl is right. You'll feel ridiculous, but you'll also break the bad habit.
posted by 2oh1 at 10:06 PM on February 10, 2009

Yeah, funny title. You could put something really smelly on your fingers before bedtime, so that when you start a-pickin', the smell will wake you up. Maybe stinky nail polish or onion juice. After a couple of weeks, your sleep-brain will probably give up on nose-picking and take up another habit, like knitting or playing the banjo.
posted by blisterpack at 10:42 PM on February 10, 2009

It could be that you have a mild dust allergy, perhaps not enough to cause sneezing, but enough to cause your sinuses to overproduce mucus at night.

I have all sorts of allergies and find that my symptoms are reduced if I am strict about washing the sheets and duvet cover in hot water regularly. I also have a HEPA filter in my bedroom, but you may not need to go that far.

You might also try getting a dust proof pillow cover.

Speaking of pillows, do you use a feather pillow? You might also be mildly allergic to feathers.
posted by Fleebnork at 1:30 AM on February 11, 2009

If you wind up pulling off the socks or mittens you could surgical tape your fingers together in pairs (like the Spock gesture) to make them awkward to fit in your nose.
posted by christinetheslp at 4:05 AM on February 11, 2009 [3 favorites]

The husband seems to have the same problem, but he snorts and clears his nose a lot and his snot ends up wherever it seems to be blown. He does this in his sleep. So it might not mining, per se.
posted by santojulieta at 8:02 AM on February 11, 2009

Response by poster: Humidifying made a huge difference. Major reduction in sinus geodes.
posted by scruss at 6:42 AM on February 18, 2009

Response by poster: Revisited this question after getting a Sinus Rinse bottle, which is essentially just an updated neti pot. It's early days yet, but:
  1. I have a sense of smell again!
  2. Slept like a log, with no schnozz swarf
  3. (too gross to repeat in public)

posted by scruss at 7:58 AM on January 9, 2010

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