The City Mattress Blog

How to Sleep with a Stuffy Nose


portrait blowing nose while sick


Sleeping with a stuffy nose can feel like a nightmare. Tossing and turning, struggling to breathe, and waking up feeling exhausted are all too common when nasal congestion keeps you from getting the rest you need. We’ll explore practical tips and effective solutions to help you breathe easier and sleep better, even with a stuffy nose.

Understanding Nasal Congestion

Nasal congestion — i.e., a stuffy nose — occurs when nasal passages become swollen and inflamed, leading to a buildup of mucus. This congestion can make breathing difficult and uncomfortable. Common symptoms include a blocked or runny nose, sinus pressure, and facial pain.

Various factors can cause nasal congestion. Allergies trigger an immune response that leads to inflammation and mucus production, while colds and sinus infections result from viral or bacterial infections causing similar symptoms. A deviated septum, which is a structural issue in the nasal cavity, can also contribute to chronic congestion.

A stuffy nose can significantly disrupt sleep by making it difficult to breathe comfortably. This can lead to frequent waking during the night, trouble falling asleep, and even snoring. The lack of restful sleep can result in daytime sleepiness, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Addressing nasal congestion is crucial for improving sleep quality and overall health and well-being.

Immediate Solutions for Relief

So, how do you get rid of a stuffy nose? Here are some methods you can use to help provide relief:

Steam Inhalation

Steam inhalation is a fantastic way to clear those stuffy nasal passages quickly because the warm, moist air helps to loosen mucus and reduce inflammation. To give it a try, fill a bowl with hot water, lean over it with a towel draped over your head, and breathe deeply for five to ten minutes. For an extra boost, add a few drops of eucalyptus or peppermint oil to the water.

Nasal Irrigation

Nasal irrigation is a gentle yet powerful method for flushing mucus and allergens from your nasal passages. Using a neti pot or saline spray, rinse your nostrils with a sterile saline solution. This helps reduce congestion and soothe irritated tissues. It’s super easy and can be done once or twice a day for the best results.

dual adjustable mattress in room

Elevate Your Head

Sleeping with your head elevated can make a world of difference when you’re dealing with nasal congestion. Adjustable beds are a great option because they let you find the perfect angle for comfortable, effective breathing. If you don’t have one, no worries! Just use extra pillows to prop yourself up. Make sure you’re sleeping on a firm mattress to keep your spine aligned and avoid any additional discomfort. This combo can really help you breathe easier and get a good night’s sleep.

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Bedtime Routine Adjustments

Making a few simple adjustments to your bedtime routine can improve your ability to sleep comfortably despite nasal congestion.

Use a Humidifier

Using a humidifier in your bedroom can work wonders for easing nasal congestion. Keeping the air moist helps to prevent your nasal passages from drying out and becoming irritated. Simply fill your humidifier with water and let it run while you sleep. You’ll wake up feeling more refreshed and less stuffy. Plus, some humidifiers even come with options for adding essential oils for an extra soothing experience!

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is key to thinning mucus and reducing congestion. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Herbal teas, like peppermint or chamomile, can also be soothing and hydrating before bed. Keeping a water bottle by your bedside can be a handy reminder to sip if you wake up feeling parched.

Avoid Allergens

Creating an allergen-free sleep environment is crucial for a stuffy nose. Start by washing your bedding regularly in hot water to eliminate dust mites. Consider using hypoallergenic pillowcases and mattress covers. Additionally, keep your windows closed to prevent pollen from entering, and give your bedroom a good clean to reduce dust.

Over-the-Counter Remedies

Sometimes, you need a little extra help to tackle that stuffy nose, and that’s where over-the-counter remedies come in handy. Here are some options to consider:


Decongestants can quickly relieve swollen blood vessels in your nasal passages. Look for decongestants containing pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine. They come in various forms, such as tablets, liquids, and nasal sprays. Just remember, these are meant for short-term use to avoid side effects like increased heart rate or insomnia. Always follow the dosage instructions on the package.


If your stuffy nose is due to allergies, antihistamines can be a real game-changer. They help by blocking the effects of histamine, a chemical your body releases during an allergic reaction. Options like loratadine or cetirizine are effective and often available in non-drowsy formulas, perfect for daytime relief. For nighttime, diphenhydramine can help you sleep better while relieving your symptoms.

doctor consulting with patient

Ground Picture/Shutterstock

When to See a Doctor

If your nasal congestion lasts longer than 10 days, or if it’s accompanied by severe headache, high fever, or facial pain, it’s time to seek medical advice. These could be signs of a more serious infection or another underlying condition that needs attention. Additionally, a doctor can help diagnose the cause of your persistent congestion and recommend appropriate treatments. This might include prescription medications, allergy testing, or referral to a specialist like an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor.

Wrapping It Up

Dealing with a stuffy nose can be incredibly frustrating, especially when it interferes with your sleep. By trying these tips and remedies, you can find relief and enjoy a more restful night. If you’re dealing with a sore throat, be sure to check out our blog, Can Snoring Cause a Sore Throat?

For even better sleep, consider investing in high-quality sleep accessories. City Mattress offers a wide range of soothing sleep accessories designed to help you breathe easier and sleep more comfortably. Check out our selection today and take the first step toward better sleep.