Allergist Ft. Lauderdale

Tips for Sleeping Better With Congestion

Whether your nasal congestion is caused by allergies or the common cold, it can really interfere with a good night’s sleep. The swelling of the nasal passages makes it uncomfortable, hard to breath, and sometimes even painful. Below are 12 helpful tips to sooth your sinuses and help you sleep better.

Use Essential Oils

Essential oils are a safe and natural way to soothe congested sinuses. There are several different essential oils that can help relieve congestion. The two most helpful oils are Peppermint and Eucalyptus oils. There are a few different ways they can be used. Direct inhalation, direct inhalation is when you place a few drops of the essential oils into a steaming bowl of water, lean your head over the bowl, and cover with a towel. Breathe in the steam directly, it is infused with the oil. Another way is to diffuse the oils in an oil diffuser. A diffuser will release the oils into the air so that you can also breathe them in. Aromatherapy massage is also a good way to use essential oils. Add a few drops of oil to your favorite massage lotion or massage oil and rub into your skin. Focusing specifically on the chest area so that the oils permeate through the air to your nasal passages.

Prop your head up with Pillows

Propping your head up, above your heart, decreases the blood flow to the nose. It also allows for proper drainage of the mucous that has accumulated in your sinus passages. When you lay your head down flat, the mucous has nowhere to go and tends to build up in your nasal area. There are specialty pillows called wedge pillows. These pillows are great for an on-going issue. However, a couple of your regular pillows piled up will do the trick just fine. Propping your head up opens airways and helps clear nasal congestion.

Take an Antihistamine

If your nasal congestion comes from allergies an antihistamine might help you sleep better. Taking one before you go to bed might just be the answer you are looking for. Histamine is a substance released by your cells when you are exposed to allergens. Histamines are what cause the symptoms agitating you. If your symptom is nasal congestion the antihistamine will suppress that congestion. Antihistamines can also make you drowsy. Between the drowsiness and the suppressed congestion you should be able to get some sleep.

Try a Decongestant

A decongestant is a medication that helps relieve congestion that comes from the common cold or other illnesses. A decongestant is formulated specifically to stimulate receptors in the nervous system, this causes blood vessels and nasal tissues to shrink. Taking one a bit before you lay down to allow some time for it to kick in can help. The downside to some decongestants is that they have an active drug in them that can be stimulating enough to cause insomnia however, not all of them do.

Use a Humidifier

Turn off the heat and turn on the humidifier! Heat typically dries out all of the moisture in the air. A humidifier is an electrical device that adds moisture to the air. Typically, you add water, turn it on, and it releases moisture. You want your nose to stay moist, having the heat on will do just the opposite. When your nose becomes too dry it will just make more mucous which means more congestion.

Avoid Alcohol

Don’t make the mistake of drinking alcohol before bed. Contrary to the popular thought that it helps you sleep it actually does the opposite. While it may make you feel tired it does not allow for a restful sleep. Alcohol dehydrates and dehydration makes congestion worse. Rather than making a hot toddy, opt for some hot lemon water with a little honey.

Stay Hydrated

Probably one of the best things to do when you are congested is to stay hydrated. Drink tons of water. Staying hydrated loosens mucous and aids in proper drainage.

Nasal Strips

While nasal strips are not a remedy for congestion they do open up your nasal passages and can offer some relief. Typically people that snore or have sleep apnea issues use nasal strips but anything to help open the air passage when you are congested is helpful.

Try a Neti Pot

Sometimes your nasal passages may need to be cleansed. You may have a blockage that needs to be cleared. Try using a neti pot. A neti pot is a teapot shaped container that can cleanse and flush your nasal passages. Usually a neti pot will come with a saline solution packet that you mix with warm distilled water. Only use sterile or distilled water when flushing nasal passages. Pour directly into the nostril while the head is tilted in the opposite direction and just let water flow through and out of the opposite nostril.

Hot Tea and Hot Soup

A bowl of hot soup and/or a cup of hot tea are both warm and soothing. The heat and the steam they omit can help loosen nasal congestion. This not only makes you relaxed ,warm, and cozy but it also keeps you hydrated.

Hot Shower or Bath

Relax in a hot shower or bath before bed. Not only will you feel relaxed and calm, the steam will help to break up mucous and relieve pressure.

Visit Your Doctor

If you have tried every possible natural home remedy and nothing seems to be working you might want to make a trip to your doctor. There are many infections and illnesses that can cause congestion. These might need to be treated with an antibiotic or another prescription medicine. Listen to your body. If you have a fever, chills, body aches, or blood in your mucous visit your doctor right away.

Waking up feeling exhausted and unrested can ruin your entire day. Your mind feels cloudy and it’s hard to keep your eyes open and make it through the day. Don’t let the common cold or allergies ruin your sleep. Try these above suggestions to ease congestion and have a peaceful night sleep.