Stuffy nose at night


Here’s The Frustrating Reason Only One Side of Your Nose Gets Blocked at a Time

Though you may not pay attention to it unless you’re sick, you’re always breathing more heavily from one nostril than the other.

During the day, the sides switch and the other nostril goes into ‘work mode’, but why?

This process is automated by the aptly named autonomic nervous system, which is the same system that controls many things your body does all by itself such as digestion and heart rate.

For your nose, this system controls your ‘nasal cycle’, so that each nostril operates effectively.

The nasal cycle happens, according to the US National Library of Medicine, several times during the day, and is only brought to your attention if your nose is clogged up more than usual.

In order to open one side of your nose and close the other, your body inflates tissue with blood in the same way that a man gets an erection, except, you know, in your nose.

“Increased blood flow causes congestion in one nostril for about 3 to 6 hours before switching to the other side. There is also increased congestion when one is lying down, which can be especially noticeable when the head is turned to one side,” Jennifer Shu reports for CNN.

It’s believed that this cycle helps round out your sense of smell. As Matt Soniak reports for MentalFloss, some smells are better picked up by fast moving air through your nose, while others take more time and are detected better with slow-moving air.

If one side of your nose is wide open and the other is slightly closed, you get all of the smells.

The process also gives each side of your nose a break, since a constant stream of heavily flowing air can dry it out and kill off the small hairs that protect you from foreign contaminants.

When you get sick, the whole process can become unbearable, because the one nostril that is effectively ‘turned off’ feels way, way more clogged than the other, Soniak says.

Basically, the clogged-up feeling is just amplified by the cold.

So the next time you feel like you’re only breathing from one side of your nose, remember that it’s a natural, automatic system working to keep you smelling properly, and to make sure your nose doesn’t get dried out by a constant onslaught of dirty air.

A version of this article was first published in February 2016.

What’s causing my blocked nose at night?

Why does my nose get blocked at night?

Not only is a blocked nose uncomfortable but, if you suffer from the problem at night, it has the potential to disrupt sleep. Since lack of sleep can affect everything from our concentration to our mood, it is really important to figure out what’s causing your congestion and then tackle it.

There are a few things that often cause a blocked nose at night including:

  • Allergies
  • Sinusitis
  • Dry and dusty air
  • A physical obstruction
  • Pregnancy
  • Viral infection
  • Posture
  • Heartburn/acid reflux.

In this piece I’ll explain why these things may cause a blocked nose at night, plus I’ll offer some general tips to help ease congestion and improve sleep.

1. Allergies

Allergies to the likes of pollen, animal dander, dust and mould spores can cause congestion at night. Allergies to these things can develop in adulthood which may explain the sudden onset of symptoms. Along with congestion, other allergy symptoms include itchy eyes, a runny nose and a skin rash.

There are a few reasons why allergies may get worse at night. Allowing pets to roam the bedroom, for example, allows dander to collect on clothing, bedding and carpets.

Anyone sensitive to dust mites may also experience congestion at night as dust mites thrive in warm, clean areas such as a mattress or pillow.

As temperatures cool in the evening, pollen particles drop down to the ground. At this level, they are easily breathed in through the nose and mouth so this may cause symptoms to develop in anyone with a seasonal pollen allergy. Pollen also collects on our clothing and hair so, by the time night comes around, levels are at their peak.

2. Sinusitis

The sinuses are air-filled cavities in the face. We do not fully understand why they exist, but one possible reason is that they make our voices resonant and loud. Sinusitis occurs when these cavities become inflamed – this may arise as a temporary symptom of a cold or flu, but can become more prolonged or chronic.

Inflammation in the sinuses leads to an increase in the amount of mucus secreted and, as this collects in the upper nasal passages, a blocked nose can develop. Symptoms can be worse at night, and can be affected by posture or your sleeping position.

A normal bout of sinusitis only lasts a week or so and should clear on its own without any assistance from antibiotics or a GP.

3. Dry, dusty air

Air containing little or no moisture can be a cause of a blocked nose, especially at night. As your nasal passages become increasingly dry, the nasal tissues over-produce mucus in an effort to keep the area moist and this leads to a blocked nose.

Dry or dusty air is not a big problem for those of us who live in the UK but it could be an issue if you spend a lot of time in an air-conditioned environment or if you live in another country, particularly in those with desert or arid lands.

4. A physical obstruction

Nasal polyps are small growths of tissue in the nasal passages. They can arise as a result of chronic inflammation, such as with allergic rhinitis or sinusitis.

A deviated septum may also cause congestion at night. This basically means that the bones in the nose are not in the right place. It may arise as a congenital malformation or injury (typically a rugby injury) and leads to a blockage of the nasal passages.

In general, the long-term ‘cure’ for these two types of physical obstruction is surgery.

5. Hormonal changes

During pregnancy, levels of oestrogen and progesterone rise which can increase blood flow to different parts of the body. In the nasal passages, the delicate tissues are more prone to swelling and so this increase in blood flow can restrict air flow and cause a blocked nose.

As posture can worsen the situation, many symptoms can get worse at night. Also, if you suffer from asthma, a blocked nose during pregnancy will be something extra to cope with.

As with any health condition that occurs during pregnancy, use of any over-the-counter remedies is not recommended without first consulting a midwife or GP.

In addition, the hormonal changes that occur during the menopause and menstruation may also make it more likely for a blocked nose to occur.

6. Viral infection

Viral infections are the most common cause of a blocked nose at night, especially amongst children.

Children are much more likely to pick up bugs as their immune systems are still developing and, consequently, their resistance to infection is low. In addition, a child’s nasal passageways are narrow and are easily obstructed, so any swelling of the nasal tissues makes a blocked nose more likely.

During a viral infection such as a cold or flu, mucus production increases in order to trap and flush out pathogens (this includes viruses and bacteria). At the same time as this, inflammation can develop and, together, these things make it hard for the nose to stay well-drained. This results in that blocked nose feeling. This problem can persist even after the initial vital infection has passed thus making us more vulnerable to secondary infections such as middle ear infections. These can also give rise to further congestion in the ears, nose and throat.

7. Gravity

A slight increase in mucus production might not be noticeable whilst you’re standing up as the nose is able to drain itself, however, it will certainly become noticeable at night when the normal draining function is removed. You may also notice your blocked nose gets worse in the evening if you are spending time lying down on the sofa.

When we lie down, the body is no longer able to drain mucus out of the nose through your throat – gravity simply isn’t working in the right direction anymore. As a result, a blocked nose could suddenly get worse at night when you lie down in bed.

Blood pressure changes, particularly in the head, also occur when we lie down. The more pressure that is put on the delicate blood vessels throughout the nasal passages, the more blocked up we end up feeling.

8. Heartburn/Acid reflux

In addition, other symptoms that come about as a result of the changes in gravity can aggravate a blocked nose. Acid reflux and heartburn, for example, can become worse at night if we have poor digestive functions. This, in turn, can damage the lining of the throat and surrounding areas (the ears, nose and throat are closely connected) and may make you more vulnerable to infections. Sleep apnoea can also contribute to increasingly blocked up nasal and respiratory passages.

Best sleep position for a blocked nose

Keeping your head propped up whilst you’re asleep will encourage mucus to flow from the nose and will help take some of the extra pressure away from your head. Simply add an extra pillow or two to do this. If you suffer from symptoms of acid reflux and are worried this could also be adding to your problems with congestion, this tip will also help with the issue!

Along with this, try to sleep on your side rather than on your back. Sleeping on your back allows mucus to build up which will not only make it harder to sleep, it could contribute to snoring as well.

How to ease a blocked nose before bed

1. Identify and remove any allergens

If you are able to recognise that an allergen such as animal dander or pollen is causing your blocked nose at night then you can begin to take steps to remove these things from your bedroom.

If pollen triggers your symptoms then shut your bedroom windows at night and take a shower or bath before bed to help remove any pollen which has accumulated on your hair and body during the day.

Should an animal be the trigger, pets should be kept away from bedrooms.

Dust mites are a common allergen but are often forgotten as a cause of a blocked nose at night. If this is an issue, it is important that bed covers and sheets are washed regularly. You can also use a dust mite protector on your mattress.

Our Luffa Nasal Spray rinses and cleans the nasal passages of allergens, whilst also helping to desensitise the delicate tissues that exist there. This can help the area to feel clearer and less irritated. This is another good way to ease congestion that is the result of allergies.

2. Rinse with a salt water solution

Rinsing the nose with a salt water solution helps liquefy mucus and, in doing so, it may help to ease a blocked nose. To do this, put ½ teaspoon of salt into the equivalent of two mugs of water. A small syringe can help to flush this solution through the nose. These can be purchased from a pharmacy.

3. Use a nasal spray

Our Sinuforce Nasal Spray provides relief from nasal congestion and catarrh.

This product contains all natural ingredients such as chamomile, peppermint and eucalyptus oil which, together, have a soothing effect on the nose. The product reduces swelling in the mucous membranes but leaves their natural protective function intact.

My Top Tip:

Sinuforce Nasal Spray with menthol relieves nasal catarrh and a blocked nose.

Spray once or twice into each nostril, 3-5 times daily for no longer than 30 days.

“Very good product. I will buy again.”

Read what other people are saying about Sinuforce Nasal Spray.

4. Consider your drinks

Alcohol relaxes (dilates) the blood vessels and, therefore, causes the tissues in the upper nasal passages to swell. This isn’t something you want if you have a blocked nose so try to avoid alcohol if in the hours before bed.

Nutritionist Emma Thornton says that:

“Other drinks that could be worth avoiding include dairy products such as milk, which are thought to be mucus-producing, and caffeinated beverages which act as stimulants and so could exacerbate symptoms.”

She goes on to add that:

“Whilst alcohol is definitely one to avoid, you might want to consider other drinks which may help your condition. Keeping hydrated is important so ensure you drink some water in the lead up to bedtime. If you suspect a viral infection is at the root of the cause, our comforting Echinacea Hot Drink may also help to support your recovery and is a nice option for the evening.”

If you’d like to read more about a blocked nose and food triggers just take a look at our blog ‘Can what you eat and drink affect your blocked nose?’.

5. Shower or bathe
Steam from a hot bath or shower will also help to relieve symptoms – this is a particularly good option for children who are struggling to sleep because of a blocked nose.
Breathing in the steam from a hot shower helps to liquefy mucus and, in turn, unblocks the nasal passages.
6. Apply a warm compress

Heat helps to open up the nasal passages and so can be another way to bring temporary relief from a blocked nose. Contrary to popular belief, continually blowing your nose may only worsen a blocked nose as it can encourage an increase in the pressure throughout the nasal passages.

7. Try Po-Ho oil

Place a few drops of Po-Ho oil on a tissue and breathe in gently. The vapours released from essential oils including peppermint, eucalyptus and juniper will be inhaled and this will help to relieve congestion.

For many children with a blocked nose, sleep will be disrupted and so keeping the bedroom humid will help to ease their discomfort. One easy way of doing this is to place several bowls of steaming hot water in a safe place around the child at bedtime. Again, it can help to place a few drops of Po-Ho oil into the water.

8. Use tea tree oil

Tea tree essential oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and so it may calm any swelling in the nose and, in turn, reduce congestion.

Tea tree oil can be added to a diffuser a few hours before you go to bed – just remember to turn the diffuser off before you go to bed as, otherwise, the smell will be quite overpowering come morning!

9. Rinse with a neti pot
A neti pot rinses the nose of mucus and any debris so can be helpful for anyone experiencing congestion. Neti pots can be purchased from your local pharmacy and will come with instructions on how to use them safely.

10. Have a herbal tea

Peppermint tea is a good option here as it is known to work as a decongestant. On top of this, it can be a good way to ease headaches, plus it even benefits digestive health.

How do you get rid of a blocked nose while sleeping?

1. Use a humidifier

A humidifier may make a blocked nose more manageable as it adds moisture to the air. This soothes the nasal tissues and thins mucus, making it flow smoothly from the nose.

Put one of these in your bedroom to see if you feel a difference at night.

2. Apply nasal strips

Nasal strips allow the passageways to open slightly, thus assisting with breathing and congestion. This is a good option for anyone suffering from congestion on a longer-term basis, perhaps as the result of an allergy.

What gets rid of a stuffy nose fast?

1. Try a decongestant

Taken orally, over-the-counter decongestants can be helpful in easing a blocked nose. It is important to remember, though, that many of these products contain caffeine or other stimulants which may keep you awake.

2. Stay hydrated

As with so many other ailments, drinking plenty of fluid is also beneficial. This helps to keep mucus thin and reduce the swelling in your sinuses.

3. Use saline drops

These keep the nasal passageways moist and will also help to remove any mucus which may be stored.

When to see your doctor

A blocked nose is not usually a cause for serious concern and instead, it can be put down to things like flu and the common cold. These can be treated at home using some of the methods outlined above.

There are a few instances, however, when it is necessary to seek medical advice on a blocked nose:

  • If the blocked nose is continually disrupting sleep
  • If it restricts breathing
  • If the problem persists longer than two weeks
  • If additional symptoms occur including a high fever, sinus pain and bloody, yellow or pus-like discharge.

Originally published on 25th October 2018 (updated on 16 July 2019).


We’ve all been there: you think your sinus problems are getting better, but the minute you lay down, your nose gets stuffy, and you’re stuck staring at the ceiling. Ultimately, you find yourself wondering, “Why are my sinuses worse at night?”

The answer to this question — why are my sinuses worse at night? — isn’t always straightforward, and it can differ from person to person. What holds true for everyone, however, is that if your nose is blocked at night on one side or both, or if you are struggling with any other sinus-related issue, your sleep is going to suffer.

What follows is a list of common conditions or circumstances that might make your sinuses worse at night, along with some potential remedies.

Reasons for increased congestion and sinus problems at night

Why are my sinuses worse at night? The reasons are various and interrelated, but they are far from impossible to manage. A good place to start is to ask yourself which of the following sinus-related problems or household circumstances you experience.

Before you do, however, it’s worth mentioning that your sinus problems may worsen at night because you’re less distracted and paying more attention to how you feel (your problems aren’t actually worse).

While this idea may be true to some extent, paying attention doesn’t cause sinus symptoms, sinus problems cause sinus symptoms; it’s wiser to address the latter than worry about the former.

Problem #1: Your sleeping conditions

Imagine your bedroom and answer the following questions:

  • Are your pets sleeping with you at night?
  • Do you drink caffeine before bed?
  • Do you drink alcohol before bed?
  • How’s the air in your room — is it dry?
  • Do you go to bed dehydrated?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might have discovered a factor that is affecting your sinuses (and probably your sleep in general).

Making proactive changes to your sleeping environment

Do you have a blocked nose at night only? If you do, making the following adjustments in your bedroom may help alleviate your congestion.

  • Keep your pets out of your bedroom, especially if you are allergic to pet dander or dust.
  • If the air in your house tends to be dry, purchase a humidifier. This suggestion is especially relevant during the winter months when the air is often drier.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol (especially wine) and caffeine before bed. Both can make you dehydrated, which can aggravate your sinuses.
  • On that same note, do what you can to stay hydrated. Hydration will help you feel better overall, but it can also work to alleviate some sinus pain.

Problem #2: Lying down, gravity, and blood pressure

Many patients who come in asking, “Why are my sinuses worse at night?” are surprised to discover what a strong role gravity and blood pressure play in worsening sinus issues.
While you’re sitting up and standing during the day, your blood circulates throughout your body, with blood pressure and the forces of gravity affecting how how easy it is for your blood to reach your head and sinuses. Additionally, while you’re vertical, gravity also helps your sinuses drain naturally down your esophagus and into your stomach.

When you lie down, however, your body doesn’t have to fight as hard to send blood to your head. Increased blood flow in the blood vessels of your sinuses can, in turn, cause sinus congestion, pressure, and pain. Furthermore, gravity is no longer helping your sinuses drain, which increases the likelihood of experiencing those same problems.

These nighttime sinus circumstances can affect people who exhibit little to no sinus symptoms during the day. If you’re also dealing with sinusitis, GERD, or allergies, these circumstances can worsen already inflamed blood vessels and exacerbate other related issues. (More on this in a minute.)

What is the best position to sleep in with a stuffy nose?

The best sleeping position for sinus drainage issues and other sinus problems is to sleep with your head propped up. Sleeping with your head propped up will help gravity naturally drain your sinuses and lower the likelihood of excessive blood flow that can create sinus congestion.

Problem #3: Sinus infection

Sinus infections, also known as sinusitis, will likely have you asking not only, “Why are my sinuses worse at night?” but also, “Why are my sinuses trying to kill me?” Your drainage issues and inflamed blood vessels may only worsen when you lay down.

Sinus surgery and balloon sinuplasty

For these reasons, propping up your head while sleeping might not be enough; you will likely also need to tackle the sinus infection itself. What is the fastest way to get rid of a sinus infection? Many sinus infections will go away with OTC medication and rest, but chronic sinus infections often demand further treatment.

If you have chronic sinus infections that disturb your sleep, you may need to meet with your doctor to discuss different types of sinus surgery. We especially encourage you to ask your doctor about balloon sinuplasty, a minimally-invasive, in-office procedure that takes less than 20 minutes and provides long-lasting sinus relief.

Problem #4: GERD

Another often surprising answer to the question, “Why are my sinuses worse at night?” is GERD, short for gastroesophageal reflux disease. GERD occurs when acid from your stomach is able to re-enter your esophagus due to a damaged or impaired esophageal valve.

This phenomenon happens more often at night when you’re lying down. GERD typically affects the back of the throat, causing coughing, post-nasal drip, and even nausea. Since the throat is connected to your sinus passages, more and more doctors have started to credit GERD with creating sinus problems.

Remedies for GERD-related sinus problems

The most straightforward way to address GERD-related sinus problems is to reduce the amount of acid that irritates your throat. To do so, avoid eating right before bed and talk to your doctor about antacids and proton pump inhibitors. Weight loss also may help alleviate GERD.

Problem #5: Allergies

Patients with allergies often suspect that their nighttime sinus problems originate with allergies, but many are still left wondering, “Why does my nose get clogged at night?” As with sinus infections, allergies may exacerbate the sinus-related symptoms you experience due to the effects of gravity and blood pressure when laying down.

Alleviating nighttime allergies

Allergy-related nasal congestion at night may only occur because your bedroom is not primed to protect your body against allergens (pets may sleep there, the air filter or sheets may need to be changed, etc.). However, you might also simply need to take an antihistamine before bed to help reduce the inflammation caused by allergies from growing worse.

Catch some z’s with balloon sinuplasty

Answering the question, “Why are my sinuses worse at night?” isn’t always easy, and addressing your symptoms might take a multipronged approach. If you’ve lost more nights than you can count to sinus problems caused by sinusitis, allergies, sinusitis and sleep apnea, sinus problems and snoring, nasal polyps or even a deviated septum, it may be time to consider balloon sinuplasty.

As mentioned previously, balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive, in-office procedure that takes less than 20 minutes and provides long-lasting sinus relief. During the procedure, your doctor inserts tiny balloons into your sinus cavities via your nasal passages. When these balloons are expanded, healthy drainage is restored. (The balloon sinuplasty success rate is 95%!)

Dr. Napoleon G. Bequer of Sinus Solutions of South Florida, a leading Florida ENT, has performed balloon sinuplasty on thousands of Tampa and West Palm Beach-area patients. He’s given them the opportunity to take their life (and their sleep) back from chronic sinus problems.

For more information on balloon sinuplasty near me, request a consultation online, or give Sinus Solutions of South Florida a call at 561-790-7744

Related Resources:

  • Sinusitis and Asthma
  • How Can One Differentiate Between Sinusitis and a Cold?
  • Winter Allergies in Florida
  • What to Expect After Balloon Sinuplasty
  • Balloon Sinuplasty: Before and After

How To Sleep With Sinusitis

If you’ve ever suffered from sinusitis, you’ll understand the misery it causes. Inflammation of the sinuses can lead to thick nasal mucus, pain in your face and a splitting headache among other symptoms. During the day the pain can be extremely uncomfortable, but it’s sleeping with a sinus infection that can cause you real problems.
In this blog post we’re looking at how to sleep with sinusitis and dealing with nasal congestion when sleeping.

Advice on how to sleep with sinusitis

Whether your sinusitis is caused by infection, allergies such as pollen, pet hair or dust mite allergy, or environmental pollutants like cigarette smoke or air pollution, here are some of the things you can do to help when you’re struggling to relieve sinusitis and sleep is not forthcoming.

How to sleep with a stuffy nose

If you’re struggling with nasal congestion when sleeping, it can make for a miserable night, and it’s no surprise that lying down in bed increases the problem. When you’re on your back, the mucus will collect in your sinuses causing increased pressure in an already tender area. By lifting your head with an extra pillow, you’ll find that this will relieve sinusitis as gravity will help to drain the mucus and help you breath more easily.
If you’re still unsure how to sleep with a stuffy nose and an extra pillow tends to give you a stiff neck, why not try our Deluxe Wool Pillows? You can increase the firmness by adding extra wool balls of stuffing to give your head a bit more of a lift.
Prepare yourself before bed
Sleeping with sinusitis is never easy, but there are a few things you can try in the run up to bed time to make sure that you’re not too congested to sleep:

  • Keep your nasal passages moist: Create a steam bath by filling a bowl with boiling water. Put a towel over your head and breath in the steam for 5-15 minutes. Add eucalyptus or peppermint oil to the water to help soothe and open up your nasal passages.
  • TOP TIP: Avoid using menthol oil as it can cause further sinus swelling and irritation.
  • Blow your nose gently before bed: Try not to blow repeatedly and aggressively, as you will find it irritates the nasal passages and can make the problem worse.
  • Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated can reduce the discomfort by helping to stop the mucus from becoming too thick.
  • Tackle allergies: One of the most common reasons for sinusitis and other kinds of sinus pain is dust mite allergy, or sensitivity to other microbes or fungal spores, especially during the winter months. These allergens like to live in your bedding, mattress and other soft furnishings, causing a stuffy nose and breathing issues when you’re shut in a room with them overnight.

What’s the best bedding for sinusitis sufferers?

If you struggle with dust mite allergy, try switching your bedding for wool duvets and pillows. Wool bedding is naturally hypoallergenic, wicking moisture and humidity away into the atmosphere, making it a hostile environment for dust mites and other allergens. This makes it the perfect choice if you’re wondering how to sleep with sinusitis or a stuffy nose caused by a common household allergen.

More tips on how to sleep with sinusitis

Knowing how to deal with sinusitis can be troublesome. But don’t forget, it’s worth trying out some of our more general tips to help you sleep better at night – these should help you settle quicker and get better quality sleep every night. After all, you’ll try anything when you’re battling with the pain of sinusitis.
For more information on how to sleep with a stuffy nose visit our Sleep Health & Advice hub for information on allergies at night or the best bedding for allergies.

Sinus Problems Affect Your Ability to Sleep

It may be warm outside, but it seems as though sinus problems are still affecting the public. This also means our ability to sleep is being negatively affected as well. It’s nearly impossible to rest when you are struggling to take in full breaths every 10 minutes. In the war against sinus problems, you must stay informed on exactly what causes these issues, and what can be done to prevent them in the future. Don’t let sinus problems ruin your ability to sleep at night, stay in the know! Here are the most common ways sinuses interfere with our ability to sleep.


Nasal Cavity and Neck Shapes

Some people have abnormal bone formations in their nose, called “deviated nasal septum“, which causes blockages during sleep. Another unfortunate aspect to deviated nasal septums are that they can cause unsightly deformities in the nose. It also creates serious problems for the functioning of the sinus area as well. Wide necks can also cause difficulty breathing due to increased sinus problems. Who knew having a slightly broad neck could have serious implications on your ability to sleep?! If you feel that you might have a deviated nasal septum or neck issues, we suggest consulting a doctor for possible surgery options. There are very little if no natural remedies for this problem.

Common Blockage

Post nasal drips are a common yet potentially serious issue involving the nasal cavities. It is the body’s way of attempting to fight a possible infection in the nasal region. This leads to excess mucus production and unsightly runny noses. Sinus problems such as these can be a nuisance both day and night, severely affecting your ability to sleep. The best way to fight this common issue is keeping your nose as warm as possible. Boiling warm, breathing in the steam and drinking hot tea are the best (natural) ways to fight this problem. If medication is needed, WebMD has many options for sinus treatment.

OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea)

Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the most common yet destructive factors to a good night’s sleep. By quick definition, you are literally being temporarily suffocated by your own body. While this lasts only a moment and is not fatal unless prolonged, it will cause your body to panic for a split second while trying to regain oxygen. This causes you to never fully relax and fall asleep soundly. There are numerous reasons for OSA–including obesity, facial abnormalities, and poor sleep positions. If you or someone you know is suffering from OSA, we highly recommend using the Miracle Wedge Pillow for elevated support during sleep.

With Love,

Miracle Wedge,

“the original acid reflux, memory foam pillow”

Can’t fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow? Maybe the pillow’s the problem.

“Your bed should be something just shy of decadent,” said Dr. W. Christopher Winter, owner of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine in Virginia and author of “The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix It.” Along with a comfortable mattress and soft sheets, he said a quality pillow is key.

But, most people don’t give a second thought to their pillow — and may be using one that’s decades old. That’s a problem.

“Choosing the right kind of pillow and a supportive mattress helps relax the spine and rejuvenates the body for the next day,” said Sridhar Yalamanchili, a physical therapist at the Atlantic Spine Center in New York.

The perfect pillow depends on the type of sleeper you are. (Back? Side? Allergy prone?)

Regardless of snoozing position, a pillow should keep your head, neck and shoulders aligned with your spine, advised Dr. Michael J. Breus clinical psychologist and sleep medicine expert from Los Angeles, California. In order to achieve the perfect alignment, though, different types of sleepers require different types of pillows.

Here’s how to pick the perfect pillow:

The best pillows for back sleepers

Look for a pillow that nestles the head at an intermediate height.

1. Proper Pillow

Winter suggested the Proper pillow. It features an oval-shaped dip in the middle. “As your head sits in the hole, the pillow around it supports it properly,” he said.

2. Apline 2.0 Performance Pillow

Bedgear’s Alpine 2.0 Performance pillow is another good option. It was specifically tested for back sleeping comfort, according to the company’s website. The height adds comfort for sleepers who like to rest their shoulders on the pillow.

The best pillows for side sleepers

This position is often recommended by experts. “Side sleeping in a fetal position opens up the spine and relaxes the muscles,” said Yalamanchili.

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Side sleepers should choose a firmer, contoured pillow with a wave shape to cradle the head. “These help to maintain the natural distance between your shoulder and head to keep your posture better aligned,” Winter said.

1. Cr Sleep Memory Foam Contour Pillow

The bestselling contoured pillow on Amazon, from Cr sleep, features a washable jersey fabric cover over gel-infused memory foam.

2. Live & Sleep Medium Firm Memory Foam Pillow

Yalamanchili also recommended sliding a medium-firm pillow between the knees to ease pressure on the lower back. The bestselling medium-firm pillow on Amazon, from Live & Sleep, provides support through a CertiPUR-certified memory foam interior that caves a bit under pressure.

The best pillows for propped-up sleepers

Fall asleep in a chair or stack two or three pillows in order to stop yourself from snoring? Consider a wedge pillow, said Winter. These raise the head and upper body more reliably than stacked pillows. helping to keep airways open and snores at bay. Your sleeping partner, kids, friends, family and neighbors will thank you.

1. InteVision Foam Wedge Pillow

The best pillows for stomach sleepers

Yalamanchili recommends avoiding this position, if possible. “It causes the natural curvature in the neck and lower back to flatten, putting excessive stress on your neck,” he said. Yet, there are some pillows that can help reduce this strain.

Choose a compressible pillow, which squeezes down into a flatter shape and reduces stress on the neck, Winter advised. But, be sure to stay away from memory foam, he added. Most people don’t find it appealing when their face sinks into these.

The Sable down alternative pillow may be a good option. The height of the pillow is adjustable, and the softness allows your head to sink down low. Breus also recommended using a softer pillow and sliding a second one under the stomach and pelvis if you experience back pain.

1. Sable Down Pillows (Set of Two)

The best pillows for the ‘every which way’ sleeper

For those who flop around at night — from back to side to stomach — a shredded latex pillow might be best, said Winter.

1. Sleep Artisan Natural Latex Pillow

Try the Sleep Artisan latex pillow. It is an Amazon Choice product and has a 4.7-star rating.

The best pillows for the allergy sufferer

When allergies kick in and sinuses start dripping, finding a comfortable sleep position might seem impossible. Changing out your pillow can help. “There are certain materials that tend to accumulate more allergens, like dust mites, in them. Down tends to be the worst,” said Winter. Swap it for a latex pillow, which resists allergen build up.

From Talalay to Dunlop materials, latex pillows can come in varying densities. So, if you find that one is too hard or soft, try another version, Winter advised.

1. Malouf Natural Talalay Latex Zoned Pillow

The 100% Talalay option from Malouf features a zoned design to strategically relieve pressure, according to the company.

2. Alpha Latex Hypoallergenic Pillow

This hypoallergenic pillow comes with three different texture options.

This story was originally published on April 2, 2018 on

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Why Do I Get a Headache at Night?

Over-the-counter treatment

Treating headaches at night usually depends on the type of headache you have. If you’re not sure about the type of headache you have, start with an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).

If these don’t provide any relief, you can try a pain reliever that contains aspirin and caffeine. You can often find this combination in OTC migraine medications, such as Excedrin Migraine.

Caffeine is also one of the more common treatments for hypnic headaches. If you have symptoms of a hypnic headache, try taking a caffeine supplement or drinking a cup of coffee before bed. For people with true hypnic headaches, this usually doesn’t cause any sleep problems.

Taking a melatonin supplement at night might also help with hypnic and cluster headaches. Shop for melatonin online.

If you think you might be getting tension headaches, you can also try to add some stress-reduction techniques to your daily schedule. Try to set aside at least 5 to 10 minutes when you get home from work to do some controlled breathing or yoga.

Even a quick walk around the block can help to relieve stress and muscle tension.

Prescription treatment

If OTC pain relievers and relaxation don’t provide any relief, your doctor might prescribe additional treatment.

There are several oral medications you can take, which include:

  • Triptans. These are medications that constrict blood vessels and block pain pathways to treat migraines. They can also help with chronic tension headaches and cluster headaches.
  • Prescription pain-relievers. If you have intense pain, your doctor might suggest taking a stronger opioid-containing pain reliever.
  • Ergots. These belong to an older class of medications that can help with chronic migraines.
  • Beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers. These medications are commonly used to treat high blood pressure, but they can also help to prevent migraines and cluster headaches.
  • Antidepressants. Although generally used for mental health conditions, antidepressants can also be effective for preventing migraines.
  • Anti-seizure drugs. Some doctors recommend anti-seizure drugs to prevent chronic migraines, but they can cause many side effects.
  • Lithium. This is another medication traditionally used for mental health conditions. It can also help treat or prevent hypnic and cluster headaches.
  • Corticosteroids. These can provide short-term treatment during an intense period of cluster headaches.
  • Indomethacin. This medication is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory that can help to prevent hypnic headaches.

There are also several injections that may help:

  • Botox. Most often used to treat facial lines and wrinkles, Botox is also approved for the treatment of migraines. Learn more about how it works.
  • Nerve blocks. These are injections of anesthetics and corticosteroids that can help to prevent migraines and cluster headaches.
  • Octreotide. This is an injectable form of a synthetic brain hormone that helps to prevent cluster headaches in some people.
  • Erenumab-aooe (Aimovig). The newest class of migraine medication, this medicine works to inhibit the role of molecules associated with migraines.
  • Triptans. While there are oral triptans, an injectable form called Imitrex may help to treat migraines and cluster headaches.

For cluster headaches, your doctor may also recommend:

  • Lidocaine. This is a local numbing agent that comes in the form of a nasal spray.
  • Oxygen. Inhaling pure oxygen may help reduce the pain of a cluster headache.

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