Why You Can’t Breathe Through Your Nose at Night

October 5, 2021

4 minutes

Reviewed by Michael Kaplan, MD

Nasal obstruction, nasal congestion, and a deviated septum are some of the most common reasons why you can’t breathe through the nose at night. While this complaint can cause severe discomfort, you do have options to help treat it and get you back to breathing normally.

Kaplan Sinus Relief is a part of the Houston Sinus Center, where all ENT-related conditions are diagnosed and treated with the most advanced techniques available. In this article, Dr. Kaplan will walk you through several causes of a blocked nose as well as what you can do about it.

What causes nasal obstruction at night?

Throughout the day, gravity is helping your body drain the mucus out of your nasal cavities. So, when you lay down in bed at night, it’s harder for your mucus to drain properly and it accumulates. This leads to nasal congestion and that “blocked nose” feeling.

There are a number of chronic nasal congestion causes including:

Common cold, allergies, or sinusitis

Both allergies, sinusitis, and the common cold cause swelling in your sinus cavities that traps mucus. As mentioned, when you lay down at night, your mucus isn’t able to drain properly and ends up blocking your airflow. You can try taking a hot shower before bed to loosen up your snot and propping yourself up while you sleep to support better drainage.

Nasal polyps

Nasal polyps are one example of nasal obstruction. These are noncancerous growths in your nasal lining that interfere with mucus drainage and may cause pain. For minor cases, nasal polyps can be treated with steroid nasal sprays, or in more intense cases you could need surgery to remove them.

Nasal valve collapse

If you have a weak or flexible side nasal wall, your nasal valve may collapse when you inhale. This can block the airways, making it difficult to get in a full breath. Treatment for this depends on your nasal anatomy and you may be a good candidate for LATERA implants to help provide structure in your lateral nasal walls.

Deviated septum

Your nasal septum is a piece of cartilage in your nose that separates your nostrils. A septum is considered to be “deviated” when it leans to one side of the nasal cavity over the other. This bent positioning can make it difficult to breathe. A deviated septum is generally corrected with septoplasty surgery.

What do you do when you can’t breathe through your nose at night?

Waking up in the middle of the night to the thought, “my nose is clogged and I can’t breathe!” isn’t on anyone’s to-do list. If this is happening to you, it’s time to help you get some relief. Here are some things you can do for at home sinus pressure relief:

  • Saline nasal sprays
  • Avoid triggers (related to allergies-induced nasal obstruction)
  • Over-the-counter NSAIDs
  • Nasal irrigation like Neti pots or saline rinses

If these treatments don’t work, you may need to ask your ENT about how to fix chronic sinusitis and other ways, like a LATERA implant, to reduce nasal airway obstruction.

LATERA implant for nasal obstruction relief

The LATERA implant is a great option for individuals who are looking to get relief from nasal obstructions caused by weak or flexible nasal cartilage. Once inserted inside the nasal wall, the implant provides structural support to the upper and lower cartilage of your nose’s lateral walls. The added support helps to prevent nasal collapse and allows you to breathe freely.

Ask Dr. Kaplan about LATERA implants if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing through your nose in general 
  • Regularly feeling as though your nose is blocked or obstructed 
  • Breathing issues while sleeping 
  • Difficulty breathing through your nose during exercise 
  • Congestion, stuffiness

Wondering if you’re a good candidate for LATERA in Houston? Contact Kaplan Sinus Relief.

It’s a good idea to consult with an ENT if you can’t breathe through the nose at night. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it could be a warning sign of a bigger condition like nasal valve collapse. If you’re regularly suffering from nasal obstruction and congestion, LATERA implants may be able to help you find relief.

Dr. Kaplan is proud to be one of the few ENT doctors offering the LATERA absorbable nasal implants in Houston. For more information about LATERA or to find out if you’re a good candidate, call us at 713-766-1818 or contact us online today! 

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Houston, TX 77098