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Which Side To Sleep With Blocked Nose? [Expert Advice For Relief]

By: Susie
Updated On: October 29, 2023

Stuffy noses can be a real night-time nuisance. Have you ever asked yourself, “Which side to sleep with blocked nose?”

Well, you’re not alone. A lot of us struggle with this question during allergy season or when down with a cold, as our nightly rest seems to turn into enduring ‘mission impossible.’

It makes you look for positions that seemingly defy the laws of gravity, all in the quest for breathability.

So, what is the secret sauce to achieving much-needed relief and sound sleep when grappling with a thoroughly blocked nose?

Your body position plays an important role – it can either help provide relief or escalate your discomfort. To enlighten you on this common nightly struggle.

Let’s delve into the science behind it and unveil some practical advice on how you could definitively answer which side to tip over when your nose won’t play nice.


What are the Causes of a Blocked Nose?

A blocked nose, also known as nasal congestion or stuffiness, can be more than just an annoyance. It can disrupt your sleep and make daily tasks a challenge.

What are the Causes of a Blocked Nose?

You may wonder why your nose tends to play the villain often during allergy season or when you have a cold. Well, there are several reasons your nose might be invading your quiet hours.

  • Common Cold: Perhaps the most frequent cause of a blocked nose is the common cold. This villainous virus results in inflammation and swelling in the lining of your nose, making you battle breathing issues.
  • Influenza: Known more commonly as flu, it’s like the big brother of a common cold and another frequent cause of stuffy noses.
  • Sinusitis: If your sinus is under attack by inflammation or infections, it will respond by becoming swollen, leading to blocked nasal passages.
  • Allergic Rhinitis: If you’re allergic to something in the environment, like dust or pet dander, your body might respond by causing inflammation in your nose.
  • Non-allergic Rhinitis: Just like allergic rhinitis, this form doesn’t involve an allergic reaction but can still result in inflammation, leading to a stuffy nose.
  • Nasal Polyps: They are soft growths that develop on the lining of your sinuses or nose, which can obstruct airflow, resulting in horrible sniffling and snuffling sounds you’d rather not make.
  • Deviated Nasal Septum: In this case, crooked cartilage between nostrils can obstruct airflow on one or both sides, leading to breathing difficulties at night.
  • Enlarged Adenoids: Infants and children often suffer from enlarged adenoids, resulting in blockage and breathing problems.
  • Foreign Body in the Nose: An issue more prevalent among young children who might have accidentally inserted a small item into their nostrils, creating an obstruction.

Not every flu or blocked nose is the common cold. Nasal blockage can be a sign of serious medical conditions as well, such as nasal tumors.

It’s essential to get your condition assessed by a medical professional if you don’t see improvement in symptoms over some time.

Is Sleeping with a Congested Nose Harmful?

Is Sleeping with a Congested Nose Harmful?

No, Sleeping with a congested nose isn’t harmful in itself; it can just make for an uncomfortable night.

Nasal congestion typically occurs when the blood vessels in your nose become inflamed, causing your nasal tissues to swell. This can be due to colds, allergies, or infections such as sinusitis.

Although it might cause inconvenience or discomfort, especially if it results in issues like snoring or shortness of breath during sleep, there are several ways to alleviate this.

Elevating your head during sleep, using a humidifier, taking hot showers, and staying hydrated can help decongest your nose.

Suppose nasal congestion persists for more extended periods (more than a week) and is accompanied by symptoms like high fever or facial pain.

It could indicate a more serious health issue like acute sinusitis or nasal polyps and should require medical attention immediately.

Also Read: How To Sleep With An Ear Infection? [Top 10 Health Hacks]

Which Side To Sleep With Blocked Nose?

If you’re dealing with a blocked nose, the side you sleep on can impact your comfort levels at night. Generally, it’s recommended to sleep on the opposite side of your blocked nostril. This is due to gravity’s impact on our bodily fluids.

Which Side To Sleep With Blocked Nose?

Lying on the side of your unblocked nostril allows for easier airflow as mucus in your congested nostril would naturally move away due to gravity.

If you sleep on the blocked side, that could contribute to an increased feeling of congestion, potentially worsening discomfort and disrupting your sleep.

This is just a temporary solution, and it’s vital to treat the underlying issue causing nasal congestion.

Simple treatments can include staying hydrated, using a humidifier at night, or over-the-counter decongestion sprays or tablets.

A healthcare professional should check out persistent or severe congestion since it may be symptomatic of a more serious health condition.

Also Read: 10 Best Mattress Toppers for Side Sleepers 2024 [Top Picks]

How to Sleep With a Stuffy Nose: 35 Best Tips

When dealing with a stubbornly stuffed nose, trying to catch those elusive Z’s can be quite the hassle. We’ve all been there.

How to Sleep With a Stuffy Nose: 35 Best Tips

There are a number of strategies you can utilize to ease the discomfort and improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.

Let’s delve into some time-tested tips that can help you sleep more peacefully, even with a blocked nose.

Stay Hydrated

The importance of hydration cannot be overstated, especially when dealing with a blocked nose at night. Staying hydrated helps thin the mucus in your nasal passages, which in turn reduces their inflammation and promotes sinus drainage – the much-needed relief for your stuffed nostrils.

You may find sipping on warm water or herbal teas before bed quite helpful. It’s also important to note that staying hydrated isn’t just about increasing your liquid intake but also avoiding dehydrating substances such as alcohol and caffeine.

Use Saline Nasal Spray

Indeed, reaching out for a saline nasal spray could make all the difference in your stuffed nose’s misery. Saline sprays work by increasing the moisture within your nostrils, thereby lowering their swelling and improving comfort levels.

They are generally safe for all ages and can be used without worrying about side effects or addiction issues that come with other types of medicated nasal sprays.

Eat Spicy Foods to Clear Sinuses

Have you ever noticed how eating spicy food makes your nose run? This might not seem like fun during mealtime, but it’s exactly what you need when struggling with nasal congestion.

Spicy foods like hot peppers, garlic, onions, or ginger contain chemicals that stimulate nasal secretion – effectively unblocking stuffy noses. This is not advisable if spicy foods irritate your stomach or exacerbate your condition.

Practice Nasal Irrigation with a Neti pot

Nasal irrigation – where a saline solution is run through your sinuses – is yet another highly effective home remedy to alleviate nasal congestion. For this, you might want to consider using a Neti Pot.

The teapot-shaped device is simple to use: fill it with a saline solution (either pre-packaged or homemade), lean over the sink with your head tilted, and gently pour the solution into one nostril at a time. While it may seem daunting at first, many people find neti pots provide instant relief.

Steam inhalation: use a bowl of hot water

A homemade steam inhalation can work wonders in alleviating nasal congestion. Here’s how. Fill a large bowl with hot, steaming water. Lean over the bowl, creating a tent with your towel over your head to trap the steam.

Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose for about 10 minutes. Be sure to keep a safe distance away from the hot water to avoid burns.

This method helps moisturize your nasal passages, thinning out the mucus that’s causing blockage and discomfort.

Take short, frequent steamy showers

Steamy showers are like personal saunas for your sinuses! Getting into a warm, humid environment can be incredibly soothing for blocked noses as heat loosens the mucus in your sinuses and eases nasal stiffness.

So, next time you feel that nasal discomfort flaring up again, opt for short, frequent showers during the day or even right before sleep time.

Maintain a clean living environment to avoid allergens

Cleanliness is paramount when it comes to keeping allergens at bay – these pesky triggers can make an otherwise simple cold escalate into relentless nasal congestion.

Dust frequently and vacuum regularly (using appliances equipped with HEPA filters) to reduce dust mites and pet dander often found lurking in carpets and upholstery.

Remember also to wash your beddings often in hot water to ward off dust mites that might be sheltering there.

Use an air purifier

Air purifiers may be investment-worthy gadgets if you’re prone to allergies or have regular stuffy nose bouts – especially in high-pollen seasons or if you have pets around the house.

These devices work by filtering and cycling the air within your room – removing allergens like dust, pollen, pet dander, or mold spores that might worsen your nasal blockage.

Use a humidifier

Dry air can often aggravate sinus pressure, causing increased inflammation and worsening nasal blockage.

That’s where a humidifier steps in – by maintaining an optimal moisture level in your room, it can not only keep your sinuses from drying out but also promote mucus drainage from the nose.

Remember to keep the device clean, though, as ignored humidifiers can harbor molds or bacteria harmful to your respiratory health.

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol as They Can Dehydrate

While a comforting hot cup of tea or coffee may be tempting, caffeinated drinks could work against you when dealing with a blocked nose.

Caffeine has diuretic properties, which can leave you dehydrated, consequently thickening the mucus in your nasal passages.

Alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration and aggravated nasal inflammation. For a congestion-free sleep, it’s best to avoid both of them close to bedtime.

Stay Upright; Avoid Lying Down During the Day

Gravity can be your ally when fighting nasal congestion! By remaining upright for most of the day, you encourage your sinuses to drain properly rather than becoming more congested as they would if you were lying down.

This way, by bedtime, your amount of discomfort has already been lowered significantly, and sleeping becomes easier.

Apply a Warm Compress Over Your Nose and Forehead

A warm compress can provide quick relief from the discomforts of a blocked nose. The heat helps loosen the mucus inside your nostrils and also eases the inflamed blood vessels in your sinuses, enhancing drainage.

A simple washcloth soaked in moderately warm water applied over your nose and forehead should do the trick.

Elevate Your Head Even While Sitting

Just as maintaining an upright position during the day helps sinus drainage, raising your head while sleeping alleviates nighttime stuffiness.

This can be achieved by adding an extra pillow or elevating the head side of your bed slightly – all for that precious, peaceful sleep.

Stay Away From Allergens Like Pollen and Pet Dander

Our bodies react to allergens like pollen, dust mites, or pet dander by producing excessive mucus, leading to blocked noses.

If you’re aware that you’re allergic to such substances, doing what you can to limit exposure might be yet another trick up your sleeve for dealing with nasal congestion.

Switching to hypoallergenic bedding, regularly cleaning your living spaces, especially the bedroom, and keeping pets off your bed are some steps you could take on this front.

Chew Gum: It Can Help Open Nasal Passages

Even if it may seem somewhat unconventional, chewing gum has been heralded by many as a simple yet effective method of relieving a blocked nose.

As you chew, you stimulate the production of saliva, which aids in swallowing and can relieve pressure in your ears and nose.

Opting for a mint-flavored gum can be especially helpful since mint has natural decongestant properties.

Take A Warm Bath To Relax And Open Sinuses

A warm bath is not just about relaxation; it’s a pragmatic approach to easing nasal congestion, too! The heat from the bathwater produces steam, which is inhaled, moisturizing your nasal passages and loosening up clogged mucus.

For added benefits, consider adding essential oils such as eucalyptus or peppermint oil known for decompressing sinuses.

Sip Herbal Teas Like Peppermint Or Ginger

Herbal teas are more than just comforting beverages; they are full of natural substances that can ease sinus congestion.

Teas such as peppermint and ginger are popular choices to open up the nasal passage due to their anti-inflammatory properties.

They soothe inflamed sinus tissues, promote mucus drainage, and work wonders when it comes to clearing airways.

Use Eucalyptus Oil In A Diffuser Or On A Tissue Near Your Pillow

The powerful aroma of eucalyptus oil is well-known for its ability to ease breathing difficulties associated with colds or congestion.

Adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil into a diffuser before sleep can fill your room with its therapeutic scent, promoting clear breathing throughout the night. Dabbing some oil onto tissue near your pillow achieves this same purpose.

Read More: How To Arrange Pillows On A Bed 2024 [10 Bed Makeover Ideas]

Avoid Eating Large Meals Right Before Bed

They say timing makes all the difference – this applies to meal times, too, when battling nasal congestion! Consuming a large meal just before hitting the bed can hinder your comfort levels while sleeping.

It may stimulate acid reflux that could reach the throat and result in swollen adenoids, further worsening nasal blockage. It’s best to keep dinners light and finish eating 2-3 hours before bed.

Reduce Screen Time: Blue light can affect Sleep Quality

Reducing screen time before hitting the bed is a helpful measure not just for those with a stuffy nose but everyone in general.

Screens-emitted blue light can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, making it harder for you to fall asleep.

This means more time being conscious of your blocked nose and less time getting restorative sleep.

Swapping screen time with relaxing activities such as reading a book or listening to soothing music can significantly benefit overall sleep quality.

Use Over-the-Counter Decongestants (Consult with a Physician)

When home remedies aren’t cutting it, you might need some extra help from over-the-counter decongestants.

These medications work by reducing blood flow to the nasal passages, resulting in reduced swelling and easier breathing.

They should be used judiciously only when necessary and not for more than a few days, as prolonged use can lead to rebound congestion or other side effects. It is also essential that you consult a healthcare provider before starting any new medication.

Use Nasal Strips to Expand Nostrils

Another useful tool in your arsenal against nasal congestion could be nasal strips – little adhesive patches placed on the nose bridge that works by physically widening the nasal passages.

Nasal strips are non-invasive and drug-free, making them an excellent choice for individuals who wish to avoid medication or have restrictions on what they can take.

By promoting better airflow through the nostrils, these strips can help you breathe easier during sleep.

Engage in Relaxation Techniques: Deep Breathing, Meditation, etc

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises or meditation can also aid your fight against nighttime nasal congestion.

Not only do these practices promote better sleep by encouraging physical relaxation and a calm mind – they also enhance circulation and reduce tension, which can indirectly help with unclogging stuffy noses.

A simple deep breathing routine you could start with is taking slow, controlled breaths in from your nose, holding for a second or two, and then gently exhaling out from the mouth.

Ensure your Bedroom is Dust-Free

Giving your bedroom a thorough dusting is crucial. Dust can trigger allergies that lead to increased mucus production, worsening your nasal congestion.

Regularly changing bed linens, vacuuming carpets and rugs, and making sure the room has adequate ventilation can go a long way in keeping irritants at bay. If needed, invest in an air purifier to maintain dust-free air in your sleeping environment.

Keep Pets Out of the Bedroom to Reduce Allergens

While you might love curling up with your fluffy friend at the end of a long day, it could be aggravating your nasal congestion.

Pet dander is a common allergen that may contribute to your stuffy nose. Keeping pets out of the bedroom, especially during the night, can significantly reduce exposure to these allergens and, in turn, alleviate your blocked nose.

Regular grooming of pets and frequent washing of bedding where pets have been can also prove beneficial.

Explore More: 13 Reasons Why Does My Dog Scratch My Bed Sheets? 2024

Sleep on Your Side Rather Than Your Back

Sleeping position can also play a big role when dealing with a blocked nose. Lying flat on your back can exacerbate nasal congestion by allowing mucus to build up in your sinuses.

Try sleeping on your side; this position encourages better drainage and decreases sinus pressure. If one nostril is more congested than the other, you could find relief by sleeping on the opposite side.

Use an Extra Pillow to Elevate Your Head

Gravity can be leveraged to relieve nasal obstruction, too. By adding an extra pillow or two under your head, you create an incline that prevents mucus from accumulating in your sinuses – considerably easing blockage issues.

This simple tip could greatly improve breathability throughout the night and improve overall sleep quality.

Apply a Mentholated Ointment Under Your Nose

Using a mentholated ointment like Vicks VapoRub under or around your nostrils can help break up nasal congestion and open up airways for easier breathing.

The refreshing scent of menthol has cooling properties, which act as a natural decongestant – providing instant relief from a blockage issue.

Use a Wedge Pillow for Elevation

If added elevation sounds like a good idea, but stacking pillows feels unstable or just not comfortable, consider investing in a wedge pillow.

These specially designed pillows provide incline and support for your entire upper body, clearing up your nasal passages by encouraging sinus drainage.

As a bonus, it can also help alleviate symptoms in people who suffer from acid reflux or snoring issues.

Explore More: 6 Best Pillows for Vertigo To Reduce Your Dizziness In 2024

Keep Tissues Close to Your Bed

One simple yet very effective tip is to keep plenty of tissues close at hand, preferably right next to your bed.

Having a runny nose can increase the amount of tissue you go through, so having them nearby can provide convenience as well as comfort.

It will also help prevent the sniffles from constantly waking you up throughout the night, making it even tougher for you to get a good sleep.

Wear Breathable Cotton Pajamas

Your choice of sleepwear can play an integral part in your quality of sleep, particularly when your nose is blocked.

Opting for breathable cotton pajamas can make a significant difference. Why? When your body stays cool and acclimatized overnight, this encourages open airways and reduces nasal congestion. So go, cotton; your nasal passages will be grateful.

Ensure Good Ventilation in Your Bedroom

Good ventilation is key to healthy and comfortable sleep – all the more so when dealing with a blocked nose. A stuffy room only intensifies nasal stuffiness.

Keep the air flowing through your bedroom by opening windows if it’s not too cold outside or using extractor fans if possible. Clean air facilitates better breathing, which equals better sleep.

Use a Fan for White Noise and Air Circulation

Using a fan serves two purposes – one, it provides air circulation, promoting easier breathing, and two, it creates white noise, which has been shown to help with falling asleep quicker and staying asleep longer.

The cool circulating air can aid in reducing inflammation in your nasal passages, thus alleviating some of the blockage.

Consider Wearing Socks; Warm Feet Can Help with Circulation and Comfort

Did you know that sleeping with warm socks on can actually boost blood circulation? Yes indeed! Improved circulation helps regulate overall body temperature – warmer feet signal your brain that it’s time for sleep.

Having warm feet opens up the blood vessels, allowing improved distribution of heat throughout the body, which can help reduce congestion and soothe a blocked nose, hence leading to better sleep.

Also Read: 6 Best Mattress For Murphy Bed To Buy In 2024

FAQs about ‘Which Side To Sleep With Blocked Nose?’

Is it better to sleep on a particular side when I have a blocked nose?

Yes, it is generally suggested that sleeping on the side of the unblocked nostril can help improve airflow and relieve congestion.

Can changing my sleep position really help with nasal congestion?

Absolutely! Sleeping with your head elevated can reduce congestion and make breathing easier.

Why should I avoid sleeping on my back when my nose is blocked?

Lying flat on your back can exacerbate sinus pressure and obstruct breathing through the nose.

What might worsen my nasal blockage during the night?

Dry air in your bedroom may worsen your symptoms. Use a humidifier or ensure good ventilation to keep air moist.

Would sleeping on alternating sides help my blocked nose situation?

Yes, alternating sides during the night could assist in equalizing pressure in your sinuses and bring relief to a blocked nose.


When nighttime congestion hits, you don’t have to take it lying down. There are practical and beneficial steps you can take to alleviate the discomfort of a blocked nose, from staying hydrated to adjusting your sleep position.

Implementing just a few of these tips might make all the difference in the battle against stuffy noses; every little bit helps, after all. So here’s to hope for more peaceful nights and less congested days!

For long-term relief, though, consider speaking to a healthcare provider if home remedies have failed you or if your symptoms persist. It could indicate an underlying health concern that requires professional medical attention.

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