Poll: how often do you wake up with a nostril congested?

In my experiments there was a correlation between the length of time I slept and the nasil congestion. I have been experimenting with polyphasic/everyman sleep schedules and have no more nasil congestion at all.

I’ve heard this blood theory before, but can’t find medical evidence to show blood pools somewhere causing congestion. I don’t doubt it, I just would like to see a medical article on it.

Asking what type of sleeper they are is starting to get outside the parameters of the experiment. I think it’s better to limit the data to whether people wake up with congestion or not. Keep experiments simple is how I like to do it.

Did some more research in the meantime, and it seems that the closest diagnosis is vasomotor rhinitis.

It’s caused by non-allergic triggers (even smells and temperature changes), and its mechanism is not well-understood. Symptoms occur year-round and there is no known cure.

The only hope seems to be a nasal stent such as the AlaxoLite Nasal Stent. It was tested successfully in Germany and I contacted the doctor who developed it, but due to idiotic FDA regulations, they can’t ship it to the US.

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[quote=“Mike, post:13, topic:72”]
Did some more research in the meantime, and it seems that the closest diagnosis is vasomotor rhinitis[/quote]

Mike, my man, self-diagnose yerself with a disease? Even scientifically speaking, you should start with the null-hypothesis that you are healthy until you can prove that there is significant evidence that you have a condition. You need to see an Ear-Nose-Throat specialist to diagnose that. And getting a stint is not necessarily going to solve your problem. Read the scientific journals on that procedure.

I suggest you do what most QSers do when they have a problem. Quantify your symptoms, record a baseline, introduce a variable, A-B-A test the variable and if it works the first time, you did better than most. But most people have to try lots of things for a while before they find what is useful.

Just start getting creative. For example, who would have thought that standing on one leg would reduce insomnia? But Seth Roberts (the one who came up with that idea) is a very creative guy, and he reads a lot of scientific journals too, so that helps a lot when forming a hypothesis. Wikipedia is not necessarily a good source to find evidence based criteria for your self-experimenting.

I used to have that problem and it seems to come and go throughout the year so I only occasionally test it. Some of the things that I have noticed improve the quality is a nasal dilator clip, or snore clip and a nasal dilator strips. Usually that’s for snoring, but it seemed to keep my nose open so I could sleep. At one time I tried taping my mouth while I slept to experiment if my brain would force the nose open while i sleep as there was no other route for air to travel. Can’t breath with your mouth taped. Anyway, those are some ideas for you. Hope it helps.

  1. yes
  2. yes

I think this is a normal phenomenon. I didn’t hear about the blood pooling, but I can confirm that changing the side I am sleeping on the closed side will open and the open side will slightly close. I can repeat that over and over again. So I think the blood pooling seems to be the right answer.

On the other hand in yoga, which focuses a lot on breathing, I also read about this phenomenon , it is also when being wake. It was stated, that the nostrils will change their state approx every 45mins. I think this might be also just some biological rhythm. But we don’t know why our body does such things. Maybe to use both nostrils evenly?


Any update on this? Did you resolve your nostril issues? Any tips?

Hello! My answers are:

  1. Yes
  2. No

I have trouble sleeping because of this condition, I wake up very often when I roll over to my other side. Almost every night I used nasal drops with Xylometazoline hydrochloride but this is very bad for the nasal mucousa.

4 years ago I went to a specialist and after examining my nose, he explained that my mucosa cells have become larger than usual and because of that they can contain more blood. Because of this and because I have a narrow nose, when I sleep on one of my sides, they fill with blood and restrict the airflow. He recommended simple surgery called Nasal Electrocauterization - they burned my mucosa.

However, the effect was just maybe half an year only. I stopped using nasal drops (because I thought they caused my condition). Now I am only using see water nasal sprays, they help a little bit but the problem still remains.

Hope this is a useful information in some way. I am also looking for more info.

  1. no
  2. yes, most grass pollens and some tree pollens

Have you looked into mucus forming foods/versus non-mucus forming foods? I have noticed that things like bread or baked carbs or fried foods often results in mucus congestion. When I eat just raw fruits and vegetables I tend to feel very clear inside.

I’ve a deviated septum from a football mashing my nose as a kid and allergies don’t help

I’ve referred to this thread a few times while I’ve been researching the congestion I have in the mornings so I thought I’d share an article that I’ve found quite interesting.

To give a bit of background: I’m a 30 year old male, in fairly good shape, have a mostly whole foods diet.

For the last 1 to 2 years I’ve been waking up most mornings with one nostril completely blocked. As in, if I cover the clear nostril and try to breathe through the blocked one, literally no air passes through it. It’s not snotty, it just feels like a solid block of congestion. Some morning are worse than others, but I always have at least mild congestion. I’m a side sleeper, and it’s the nostril on the side that I wake up on that is blocked the most.

The congestion clears fairly swiftly once I’m up on my feet, but sometimes lingers slightly for a few hours.

What I’ve described above fits in with what’s posted in this article: www.hawaiireporter.com/heads-up-the-way-you-are-sleeping-may-be-killing-you

To very briefly summarise, it says that when you are lying horizontal, your heart has to work harder to pump the blood into your head. This creates intracranial pressure, which can lead to a variety of issues, including sinusitis / nasal congestion.

This seems to fit in with what I’m experiencing: I stand to work during the day, so pressure in theory should be low. I do not have congestion throughout the day. In the evening when I sit down, pressure in theory increases, and this is when the congestion begins. The congestion is then at its worst when I have been laying down horizontally for 6 hours+.

I have noticed that the morning congestion is at its worst when I’ve slept for longer periods, e.g 8 hours instead of 6. This fits in with the theory that pressure is causing the congestion - the longer I am laying horizontally, the greater the pressure, the worse the congestion.

I’ve started keeping a log of things like exercise, sleeping position, hours slept, etc to see if I can pick up on any other patterns.

The suggestion from the article is to sleep with your head elevated and to sleep on your back. I am finding this tricky because I have always been a side sleeper and sleep in the foetal position. I am gradually trying to change this, however.

I will report back once I have gathered some more data. If anyone has any suggestions for learning to sleep on your back and with your head elevated, I’d love to hear them. Or any opinions on the content of the article - the science discussed in it sounds convincing but it doesn’t seem to have been covered that extensively elsewhere.

Here’s a link to the article again: www.hawaiireporter.com/heads-up-the-way-you-are-sleeping-may-be-killing-you

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It’s the air conditioning. When it happens, shut it off. Put the fan on slowest sleep. It will also help if you have an anti allergen.
Happens to me all the time.

  1. Yes! I always wake up with one of my nostrils completely stuffed… Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night because of this problem.

  2. Yes (I have allergic rhinitis), but taking antihistamines seldom helps… which I find strange. Also, I have a deviated septum and one of the doctors I saw told that the only solution was having surgery, but I have been postponing it…

  1. No
  2. No
  1. Yes
  2. Yes

I also have had the common experience of having to switch which side I sleep on to “balance” nostril blockage.

My own auto-experimentation suggests that my rhinitis is due to hydration + humidity. A humidifier in the bedroom improved my chronic baseline, and drinking enough water that I will have to rise during the night reliably improves the condition. I still have to clear my nasal passages with some serious nose-blowing in the morning, but when taking this care retain the ability to flow air through both nostrils.

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  1. yes
  2. possibly? I am seeing a doctor about asthma and sinus inflammation

How long have you had these symptoms?

  1. Yes
  2. No

Thanks for posting Mike.

Your symptoms sound identical to mine, with the exception that my CT scan found chronic sinus infections and mucous buildup in my upper sinus, which the doctor said was probably due to the poor drainage due to inflamed turbinates (after trying allergy tests and various nasal sprays).
They performed a turbinate reduction surgery, which sounds like what you had donem, and widened some airways.
The infections cleared, but I am still waking up after 4-5 hours of sleep with a blocked airway, (normal case) which I can only clear by standing up.
When I lay down again, I am at 75% blockage on whatever side I am on within 5 minites.
If I lay on my back, I am blocked 20% - 40% each side.
On the roughest nights I wake up 6 - 10 times, when I am rolling over.
I have noticed on a couple of rare good night’s that I wake up after a decent sleep on my back with both hands resting behind my head. It is hard to will my body to fall asleep in that position though.

I also did a one night study in a sleep lab, where I was forced to sleep on my back due to all the wires they had on me. The only thing they found that was abnormal was that I go to the REM stage of sleep faster than normal (maybe my body trying to compensate for less hours). No apnea or anything like that.

I’m a fit 30 year old male, use a netipot and drink a cup of water with a dissolved magnesium calcium supplement before bed (for the last month). My septum is perfect. Allergy tests have all come back negative.

I didn’t take records to be able to quantify this, but I think that the issue worsened when I moved to a ground floor apartment in southern Germany 18 months ago. Prior to that I was on a second floor in Boston. Similar climates. Probably coincidence, but my partner (who luckily, is a heavy sleeper) and I are
On the lookout for another off ground apartment.

My next step is to see another ENT (number 6), and to also try a raised head pillow thing (does anyone have any recommendations for that?).
After that I’ll fork out the cash for a humidifier.
Then since I’m in Germany maybe I’ll try the Stent thing.

If anyone has any other ideas/data, please keep it coming :slight_smile:

But not consistently,

One tip I have found really useful is to breath out completely and hold your breath for 45 secs whilst lying on your back. This creates NO which unblocks the nose rapidly

  1. Yes

I found out this link that explains that this is completely natural, I know it’s an old thread but just like me, there most be people looking for it.

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  1. Used to happen until 2 weeks back, I started using Netipot doing Sinus rinse and this issue has magically disappeared.

  2. No