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

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