How to sleep when you have a blocked nose: Five top tips from a sleep expert

Sleeping with a blocked, stuffy nose can be a challenge. Quite common in the winter months, catching a cold can mean you need your bed rest to get back to a full bill of health. But when you can’t sleep because you’re struggling to breathe, what is there to do?

Sleep expert at Sealy UK, Natalie Armstrong, has shared her five top tips to help you sleep when you’re feeling poorly.

1. Take a shower

Standing under a hot shower can be therapeutic in more than one way.

Natalie said: “The steam from a hot shower can ease nasal congestion.


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“It does this by helping to thin out the mucus and reduce inflammation.”

A hot shower can relieve symptoms of a blocked nose for a significant amount of time too – making it the perfect solution to fall into a quick slumber while you can.

“Inhaling steam from a hot pan can also have the same effect,” added Natalie.

She also suggested to inhale steam throughout the day to keep symptoms at bay.

2. Stay hydrated

Water is going to be your best friend when trying to recover from a cold.

“Fluids are essential when fighting a blocked nose, and water helps to thin out mucus and decrease the pressure in your sinuses,” commented Natalie.

“This helps to reduce inflammation and irritation, as well as headaches, all of which make it easier to sleep through the night.”

This is why a glass of water next to the bed at night is advisable.

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3. Sleep with a hot compress

“Place a folded towel or flannel, soaked in hot water, on your forehead,” Natalie recommended.

This hot compress “increases blood circulation”, thereby “decreasing sinus congestion and inflammation” – easing the symptoms of a blocked nose.

4. Eat spicy food

Natalie stated: “If you can brave the heat, eating spicy food is a surprisingly good way to combat your blocked nose ahead of bedtime.

“Eating spicy food is a natural way to induce mucus flow.”

To explain this further, she elaborated: “This is because the compound capsaicin, which gives chilli peppers their heat, widens your nasal passages and reduces instances of inflammation and sinus pain.

“It also produces mucus, which can leave you with a runny nose, but without any pressure from blockage or congestion.”

5. Use another pillow

“Sleeping with your head propped up slightly can help to keep your blocked nose at bay during the night,” revealed Natalie.

“Using another pillow or two will encourage the mucus to flow from the nose and take some of the extra pressure away from your head, helping you to fall asleep and stay asleep longer.”

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