How to Sleep With a Stuffy Nose

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A stuffy nose can make it difficult to get to sleep or stay asleep through the night. Learn how to sleep with a stuffy nose with help from a health expert in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Cold-Weather Sickness Remedies
Promoted By Zergnet

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we're going to be talking about how to sleep with a stuffy nose. Now, nothing is more annoying to me than trying to get to sleep when I've got a cold, or bad allergies, and I can't get air through my nose. Even worse, you're already asleep, and then your nose gets so clogged up that you can't breathe, and you just gasp awake. It's awful. So, what can you do to relieve those symptoms? Well, probably the safest thing is to introduce a little bit of normal saline into the nose, to wash it out a little bit, and open up the airway. Now, if you have a baby, you can do this with just a little dropper. You can make some normal saline by adding a half a teaspoon of salt to one cup of water. You can heat that so it dissolves, let it cool, and dribble a couple of drops into the baby's nose, and then suck them out again with a little suction bulb. If you're a grownup, or an older child, you can also use a device called a neti pot. A neti pot looks kind of like a teapot, or a genie's lantern, and you fill that thing with normal saline as well. Then, you tilt your head at a 45 degree angle over a sink, and introduce it into the upper nostril, let the water kind of wash out all that gunk. It may go down to your throat a little bit, it may go into the other nostril, that's all fine. But, that ought to loosen up your congestion, at least long enough for you to get a little bit of decent rest. You might also find that having a humidifier, either a cold mist humidifier, or a steam humidifier, in the room will help you out as well. One word on hot or steam humidifiers: If there's a child around, you want to keep that thing way out of their way, because it's so easy to get a steam burn by accidentally putting your hand, or any other body part, in front of the humidifier. Now, there are also medications that are sold as nasal decongestants. The most effective ones use spray in the nose. These are medications like Afrin. The problem with these medicines is if you use them for more than about two or three days, it's really hard to stop using them. The tissues of the nose get accustomed to having the medicine there, and when you stop, the swelling is worse than ever. So, you really want to have the discipline to only use it for the two or three worst days of your cold, and then stop. You can also take an over the counter decongestant such as Pseudoephedrine, or Phenylephrine. These may be mildly helpful, although they may also keep you awake, and that would sort of defeat the purpose of trying to sleep with a stuffy nose. Talking about how to sleep with a stuffy nose, I'm Dr. David Hill.

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