Chronical clogged nose is preventing a good sleep at night. Any advice?
June 10, 2010 7:22 AM   Subscribe

Chronical clogged nose is preventing proper breathing at night. Any advice?

Hi everybody,

My problem is simple: every night I have my nose clogged, no matter how many times I try to clean it, it remains "mucus free" only for a short period of time. Sometimes when I blow it, it feels that it´s extremely dry (nothing comes out). I don´t have any conditions related to this, like asthma, sinusitis or similar. The problem gets worse in spring (right now), so it may be related to some allergy (I´ve got vaccinated against Grass Allergy some years ago), but during the day I don´t have specially problematic symptoms. I can breathe more or less normally.

But at night, when I lie down, the nose gets clogged again. I tried using some camomila tea to clean the nostrils and nose with a syringe, taking anti-histaminics, using Breath-Right nasal strips, a special pillow (Tempurpedic), but nothing works. Some days I woke up literally breathless, and my mouth has been wide open during the night, with all the expected consequences: sore throat, extreme dryness, etc. It´s worth mentioning that I cannot rest properly and right now I´m kind of afraid of going to sleep at night...

I only get some relief if I try to sleep a little bit in a seated position, helped by a big cushion, but it´s very uncomfortable in the long run. When I´m standing, the problem goes away a little bit (When I woke up in the mornings, some minutes are necessary for the nose to "unclog" by itself). It seems that one or in the worst days, both of the "holes" of the nose are clogged.

The humidity in our house stays around 40-60%, so this is not the problem. I drink plenty of water during the day and avoid caffeine, alcohol and sweets two or three hours before going to sleep.

I´m running out of ideas here. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
posted by Matrod to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Go see your physician. There's no reason to put up with chronic discomfort from a problem that may well be easily diagnosed and treated.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:24 AM on June 10, 2010

How long has it been since you replaced your pillow? Dust mite allergies are very common.

Seeing a doctor about this is certainly a good idea. Either your primary care physician or an ENT.
posted by Ery at 7:29 AM on June 10, 2010

Yes, you should get to a doc about this. You may want to try a 0.9% saline spray (slightly higher than the body's salinity, I have been told), and a humidifier in the bedroom. I have small nasal passages, these two things help immensely.
posted by kellyblah at 7:35 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you have a down-filled pillow and/or comforter, try using cotton or synthetic filled ones instead and see if that helps. Lots of people are allergic to down stuffing.
posted by Askr at 7:36 AM on June 10, 2010

There are nasal allergy sprays that can really help with congestion. You'll want to discuss it with your doctor, of course. I was using Flonase for a while before bed, and it worked wonders at keeping my nose clear. (Also gave me nosebleeds, but I know it works well for other people.)

I just saw my doctor, and now she's very keen on me doing nasal irrigation. I have a few friends who also swear by it. I'm trying to get into the nightly habit, and I do find it clears out my stuffy nose very well.
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:47 AM on June 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

See an ENT, try Neti pots until then.
posted by tetralix at 7:53 AM on June 10, 2010

I went and got my airways reamed out: rhinoplasty, for my crooked nose; septoplasty. to correct a septum which wandered like the Mississippi; turbinate reduction for turbinates so full of erectile tissue they could have been made into a third nipple; and tonsillectomy, for these two crypt-ridden gobs of flesh who were really into non-con breath play.

You would not believe how much better I sleep at night. I need about two hours less sleep per night simply because I sleep better.
posted by adipocere at 8:01 AM on June 10, 2010

Visit your doctor. Recently, I started taking some allergy medication, prescriped nasal steroid and and over the counter claritin generic. A great side effect of that is better sleeping and my wife reports my terrible snoring has been eliminated. I haven't felt this good in a while.
posted by Jon-o at 8:13 AM on June 10, 2010

Second the nasal irrigation/neti pot. I've had experiences very similar to yours and this has really helped.
posted by Alexdan4 at 8:14 AM on June 10, 2010

I take (well, took; I'm pregnant and drug-free right now) generic Claritin and also use Nasacort AQ (nasal spray) with a little Afrin in it. Works great. Can't wait until I can start that up again, because right now I am right there with you.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:42 AM on June 10, 2010

My doc prescribed me Flonase, which works like a charm.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:55 AM on June 10, 2010

I used to have this problem. Plus, it was turning into a raging sinus infection every few weeks.

Finally, I saw an ENT who did an ethmoidectomy (Or Full Endoscopic Sinus Surgery) and since then it's been awesome.

I haven't felt this good in years. I highly recommend talking to an ENT about your trouble. Maybe you won't need any invasive procedure, but you just might, and in my case, it was totally worth it. I should have done it ages ago.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:21 AM on June 10, 2010

Go see your doctor specifically about this.

I take the generic equivalent of Flonase, and since I started I went from eating antihistamines every single day to...none!

Some day I migh consider having my doc (or a real ENT) check me out for turbinate reducation, but I only just heard about it (for one of my kids). Until then, the morning shot of spray works wonders.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:49 PM on June 10, 2010

May I suggest the Buteyko method.

Primarily it is an aid to those suffering with asthma, but the ABC - Always Breathe Correctly - mantra is the right way to go for anyone. Part of it involves a method that is used to unblock the nose: Basically, it involves holding your nose and keeping the mouth shut until you can't hold your breath any more. Release the nose and you will find that it is unblocked. You might have to do this several times for it to be fully effective, but it gradually becomes easier - and while the nose is unblocked, be sure to breathe through it.

Anyway, here's a couple of links to get you started: (under the How We Do It section)

Please, don't be distracted by the asthma thing - it is trouble free breathing that you are aiming for, and I'm sure the Buteyko method will help. I hope it does, and I wish you well.

All the best.
posted by roryks at 1:43 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

I came to reccomend you try Buteyko as well. It took very little time for me to see results, just from reading and following along to online tutorials.

I too have had problems with my nostrils becoming blocked especially at night when prone. Continuing to breathe through my nose while slowing down my breathing keeps my nostrils open.

Another problem that Buteyko breathing has helped me with is excessive nose-running while in cold weather. My nose used to run excessively while I was outside in the cold, and especially while exercising in cold weather. Now when I slow down my breathing while in the cold weather my nose will slow down its running and sometimes even stop running completely.

I learned about Buteyko from the New York Times, as referenced in this post.
posted by GregorWill at 4:32 PM on June 10, 2010

Just adding another vote for nasal irrigation. I find the NeilMed squeeze bottle incredibly easy to use and now that I have gotten used to doing it (it is kind of awkward at first) I hate going a day without it.
posted by ch1x0r at 5:03 PM on June 10, 2010

Response by poster: Hi everyone,

Good suggestions. I´ll try the Buteyko method and report back my results. So far, the situation has not improved and I do not want to use medicines or chemicals, since when I did, the problem worsened.

Thanks again for your insight and wisdom.

Best regards!
posted by Matrod at 3:22 AM on November 28, 2010

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