How to Sleep With a Stuffy Nose (Tips That Work)

 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

SuperHumans are the toughest, fittest, healthiest and happiest human beings on this planet. My mission is to help you realize your superhuman potential and learn how to live a long, happy and healthy life.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’m a content organizer, fact-checker and super mom who ensures content is medically-reviewed, highly accurate, and engaging. My passion is organizing information and ensuring the facts are presented in a manner that is interesting and easy to understand.

How to Sleep With a Stuffy Nose

When you have a stuffy nose you need to focus on one thing: get as much sleep as you can. Sleep is when your body has time to work its magic and combat whatever illness you’re dealing with. If you can’t sleep, then it’s going to be much harder for your body to overcome the illness or allergy.

In this post, I will be providing some tips that will help show you how to sleep with a stuffy nose.

Why It’s Hard to Sleep Well With a Stuffy Nose

It’s hard to sleep when you have a stuffy nose because of the way your body reacts to the discomfort. Your body releases histamine in response to foreign substances and irritants, like pollen or dust.

This histamine causes blood vessels in your sinuses to dilate, which makes it harder for air to move through them and into your lungs.

As a result, you’re more likely to breathe through your mouth instead of your nose, which can lead to mouth-breathing at night, and even coupled with snoring.

How to Sleep With a Stuffy Nose During the Day

Getting around with a stuffy nose during the day can be frustrating, especially if you’re trying to focus on work or other tasks. Here are a few things you can do to make it easier:

1. Take a Nap

If you’re feeling tired or stressed out, taking a quick 20 minute nap can help clear up your sinuses and reset your energy levels.

2. Use Saline Spray

Use saline spray or drops to clear out your nose before bedtime. It may seem counterintuitive, but it will help you breathe better at night when you’re trying to sleep.

tissue and nasal spray

3. Stay Hydrated

If you’ve got a stuffy nose, and you’re feeling groggy and exhausted, drinking plenty of water and keeping yourself hydrated is the best thing you can do to get your energy back. It’s not just because staying hydrated helps keep your body functioning properly—it’s also because being dehydrated can cause you to feel tired and weak.

When your body needs water, it pulls it from other areas first, such as your blood plasma. This reduces the amount of fluid in your blood plasma, which causes more strain on other parts of your body (like your heart) when they have to work harder to pump blood with less fluid in it.

But when you’re dehydrated, all of these things happen at once: you have less fluid in your blood plasma because you’re not drinking enough water; your body has less fluid to work with, and everything has to work harder because there isn’t enough water for things like digestion or regulation of hormones. And all of this adds up to feeling exhausted. 

4. Identify Your “Stuffed Nose” Triggers or Allergies

Allergies are caused by an immune system overreaction to things in the environment that are harmless to most people. The immune system reacts by releasing histamine into the body, causing inflammation and giving symptoms like a runny nose or watery eyes.

When pollen counts are high, allergy sufferers are often plagued with symptoms such as runny noses and itchy eyes. But there are some other common allergens that can cause your symptoms even when pollen levels aren’t high at all: pets, dust mites (commonly found in old mattresses), mold spores from damp basements or leaky roofs, and even chemicals from perfumes and colognes.

If you’re having trouble breathing through your nose due to allergies or another reason (like a cold), there are steps you can take at home to make yourself feel better: use humidifiers during dry periods (like winter months); keep windows closed when pollen counts are high; take antihistamines as prescribed by your doctor.

5. Try Using an Air Filter or Purifier

When you’re struggling with a stuffy nose, it can be hard to sleep or go about your day. The first thing to know is that there are two types of air filters: HEPA (which stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air) and non-HEPA.

sitting next to a air purifier

The difference between the two is that HEPA filters trap 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns in diameter, whereas non-HEPA filters only trap about 80%. This means that if your nose is stuffed, the smaller particles like pollen and dust mites might still make their way through the filter and into your room.

Second, when you use an air filter or purifier, it removes most of these particles from the air before they can even reach your nostrils. This means less sneezing, fewer headaches, and more rest.

6. Apply a Menthol Rub or Essential Oil Rub.

Applying a menthol rub or essential oil rub can help you with a stuffy nose. Menthol-based products act as decongestants and help clear nasal passages. Lavender, rosemary and eucalyptus are also known to help ease congestion. Rubbing these essential oils on your chest and back can also help you relax.

7. Avoid Blowing Your Nose Too Often

When you have a stuffy nose, doing so can actually make you feel worse. Your body naturally produces mucus to protect your nasal passages, and blowing your nose can cause damage to the delicate tissue in your nasal passage.

Instead, try using a warm compress or saline spray to loosen up any dried mucus, then gently blow it out. If you still feel like you need to blow your nose after that, try doing it while pinching the soft part of your nostrils closed with two fingers (not the tips).

8. Eat Some Spicy Food

It’s been noted that eating spicy food can open up your nasal passages and reduce swelling in your sinuses, which helps with breathing and talking.

The reason spicy foods have this effect on your body is because they contain capsaicin, which is an ingredient in chili peppers that causes a burning sensation when consumed.

9. Have a Good Bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup is an age-old remedy for colds and flu, so it’s no surprise that it’s recommended in the event of a stuffy nose as well. Chicken noodle soup has a number of properties that can help alleviate your stuffed nose.

First, it’s hot. The heat will open up your sinuses and make breathing easier—just what you need when you’re dealing with congestion.

chicken noodle soup

Second, chicken noodle soup contains water—and lots of it. Water helps thin mucus and keep it moving out of your body, which helps when you have a stuffy nose. It also helps keep your lungs hydrated, which is important because dry air can contribute to congestion as well.

Finally, chicken noodle soup is full of salt and minerals like potassium that can help relax tense muscles in your upper airways and make breathing easier.

10.  Try Taking Menthol Lozenges

Lozenges are small pellets that dissolve in your mouth and can be taken to relieve symptoms of a stuffy nose, such as sneezing, coughing, runny nose and postnasal drip.

They work by loosening mucus in the sinuses so it can drain out more easily through the nasal passages. As with any medication, be sure to talk with your doctor before trying lozenges for a stuffy nose.

How to Sleep With a Stuffy Nose At Night

“How can I sleep with a blocked nose?”

“How can I sleep with a stuffy nose?”

If you’re looking for the best way to sleep with a stuffed up nose, here are 10 tips that might help you get a good night’s rest:

Use Pillows To Prop Your Head Up

When you sleep on your back, gravity pulls the mucus in your nasal passages down toward your throat. This causes an uncomfortable feeling in your mouth, which can lead to coughing and choking when you try to breathe through your mouth.

When you sleep on your side, gravity pulls the mucus down into your throat even faster than when you’re on your back. One way to avoid this problem is by propping up one side of your head with a pillow or other object when you go to bed at night so that gravity cannot pull the mucus down as quickly as it would otherwise.

This will allow you more time before it becomes uncomfortable enough for you to wake up from coughing or choking on it.

Try To Wear a Nasal Strip as You Sleep 

Nasal strips are small, flexible bands that are placed across the bridge of your nose, similar to dental retainers. They create a barrier between your nostrils and mouth, preventing air from escaping through your mouth.

This allows your nasal passages to stay open so that breathing is easier. When choosing a nasal strip, look for one that is made of medical-grade silicone or latex—you don’t want to use any other material as they may cause irritation or allergic reactions.

Many people find that wearing their nasal strip overnight helps them wake up feeling more rested and refreshed.

Breathing Through Your Mouth

Try breathing through your mouth instead of your nose for an hour or two before bedtime—this will allow more oxygen into your system and help clear out any mucus build-up that might be causing problems with breathing during the night.

woman with a stuffy nose

Use a Humidifier in the Room

A humidifier is a great tool to help you sleep when you have a stuffy nose. When you’re congested, it can be hard to breathe through your mouth and difficult to get adequate oxygen intake.

A humidifier adds moisture to a room, which helps loosen up mucus and make it easier for you to breathe. The added moisture will also help keep your nasal passages moistened, which will help prevent irritation from dryness and cracking.

Gargling With Salt Water

This has been shown to be an effective way to help you sleep better when you have a stuffy nose. A study published in the Journal of Family Practice found that gargling with salt water can help alleviate congestion and decrease nighttime coughing, which can prevent you from getting much-needed rest.

This is because after gargling, the salt water also works to hydrate your throat and soothe irritation and inflammation. This helps reduce the swelling in your nasal passages, making it easier for you to breathe through your nose again.

Explore Essential Oils

Essential oils are made of natural ingredients that have been used for centuries to treat ailments. They have many uses, including helping with congestion. Some essential oils, like peppermint and eucalyptus, are known for their ability to clear nasal passages and other respiratory issues.

These essential oils can be used in a diffuser or added to hot water and inhaled through a towel or cloth over the mouth and nose.

Tap the Power of Ginger

Ginger root has long been used as a natural remedy for colds, and research shows that it can actually help clear your sinuses while also easing symptoms of allergies.

To use ginger to help with stuffiness during the night, cut up some fresh ginger root and brew it in hot water for about 15 minutes. Then, add honey or other sweetener if desired, and drink the tea while it’s still warm. You’ll start feeling relief almost immediately.

Use a Hot Towel

A hot towel will help your stuffy nose and give you a chance to sleep better. All you have to do is take a hot towel and put it on your face for about five minutes. It’ll open up your sinuses and allow more air into them, which will help clear out all that gunk that’s causing your stuffy nose in the first place.

Even if it doesn’t completely clear up the problem, it should at least make things better enough so that you can actually fall asleep.

Take a Hot Shower Before Going To Bed

The heat helps open up your nasal passages so that you can breathe easier. This will help reduce symptoms like congestion and headaches, which can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.

after shower

You can also use aromatherapy during your shower to help calm down and relax at the end of the day. Try lavender or eucalyptus oil in your bathtub or add some drops to a pot of boiling water before adding it to your bath water.

Design Your Environment To Help You Sleep Better

Maintain a cool, dark room. The cool temperature will help reduce the swelling in your nasal passages and make it easier for you to breathe.

Second of all, the dark environment will help your body produce melatonin—a hormone that can help with sleepiness—and also block out light from outside sources like phones or tablets that could be keeping you awake.

Decrease or Avoid Consumption of Caffeine

If you’re taking coffee or tea, you might want to switch to decaf or totally avoid them. If your body is getting too much caffeine, it can be hard to fall asleep at night. If you have a stuffy nose, however, your body may not be able to process the caffeine properly.

This means that even if you have a small amount of caffeine after 4 p.m., it could keep you up at night. So switch to decaf or avoid tea and coffee altogether in the afternoon if you want to sleep better when you have a stuffy nose.

Supplements For Better Sleep Even With Stuffy Nose

How to sleep when you have a stuffy nose? You can tap supplements that are available in the market which can help you have a good night’s rest. Here is a comparison of 4 of the best brands out there for sleep supplements:

Product nameSerenityDr. Axe Stress and SleepZhou Calm NowOnnit NEW Mood
Active ingredientsMagnesium, Valerian root, Passion flower, St. John’s Wort, Hops flower, Lemon balm, Ashwagandha root, Holy basil leaf, L-theanine, Magnolia bark, Chamomile flower, L-taurineHops flower, Passion flower, Ashwagandha root, Reishi Mycellium, Lavender flowerAshwagandha, Rhodiola rosea, and Passion flower  Chamomile flower, Valerian root, Lemon balm, Jujube seed
Other remarksAs a daily supplement, Serenity can help with sleep optimization and fatigue recovery of the adrenal system.It also shields the body against exhaustion, and provides mental clarity. A supplement with a world class formula, and a product whose conception is not only supported by modern science, but packed with powerful, health-boosting natural ingredients.Stress and Sleep combines several botanical ingredients that have long been used in traditional health practices, which include passion flower, reishi mushroom, ashwagandha, lavender, as well as hops flower, to foster more a restful sleep, encouraging mental relaxation, helping reduce stress, and many more.Calm Now may be useful for those seeking a positive and relaxed mood, while staying focused during stressful events, then feeling at ease in other situations. This supplement taps the power of ancient herbs and extracts for a powerful stress support you can trust. Calm Now contains just the right amount of herbal ingredients for optimal results. Serotonin is a key neurotransmitter that is linked to mood, positive outlook, and overall happiness. When combined, L-tryptophan and 5-HTP (serotonin’s major components), with Vitamin B6, New MOOD® can provide the nutrients to optimize serotonin levels.

When to Visit Your Doctor?

The signs that you need to seek medical attention for a stuffy nose are:

  • Sinus pain or pressure, especially if it’s worse than usual
  • Severe headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Drainage from your nose that is either yellow, green, or bloody

FAQs About Sleeping With a Stuffy Nose

What Side Do You Lay on When You Have a Stuffy Nose?

Left or right, it doesn’t matter, but it is good practice to sleep on your side when you have a stuffy nose. It opens up your airways, allowing you to breathe better. When you sleep on your side, gravity acts as a natural force to help clear out mucus in your nasal passages.

When you sleep on your back or stomach, gravity pulls the mucus down into your throat and sinuses, which makes it harder for you to breathe.

How to Sleep With a Stuffy Nose While Pregnant?

Pregnant women are often afflicted with stuffy noses. This is due to the changes in hormone levels and the fact that the nasal passages swell during pregnancy. If you feel like your nose is blocked or stuffed, just follow the tips I’ve shared in the previous sections, but make sure to consult your obstetrician before taking any pills or supplements.

pregnant woman with stuffy nose

How to Sleep With a Stuffy Nose and Sore Throat?

If you have a stuffy nose and sore throat, it can be difficult to sleep. The first thing you should do is drink plenty of fluids. Drink 8-10 glasses of water per day, and also consider adding some lemon or lime juice to your water for extra flavor.

This will help thin the mucus in your throat, making it easier to breathe through your nose. For more tips, please refer to the previous sections of this post.

How to Sleep With a Stuffy Nose and Dry Throat?

While dry throat could not be easily synonymous with sore throat, the approach I would recommend would be the same: keep yourself hydrated, check your environment’s humidity, and take supplements as necessary, to boost your own system.

How to Sleep With a Stuffy Nose Without Medicine?

You can try several of the options I’ve mentioned above, and see which one works best for you. The most commonly resorted to is steaming or using a hot towel, taking hot showers, and using a humidifier, all of which helps open up your nasal passages, making it easier for you to breathe.


So what is the best way to sleep for a stuffy nose?

No matter if you have a stuffy nose your whole life or just for a few days, this article will help you to deal with it. Be prepared and know how to cope with the inconveniences which come with a nasal discharge by arming yourself with these tips that I have shared with you.

Join our group on Facebook and learn more about natural supplements that support your journey towards a healthier, Superhumn you! Check out my other sleep-related articles on why do elderly sleep a lot  and how to sleep with sciatica. Cheers!

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