Bothered by a stuffy nose at night? Try some of these simple home remedies and find relief. Also, know what causes this annoying condition so that you can prevent it.
A stuffy nose is an annoying ailment, but nothing is worse than having to put up with it even at night. Also called nasal congestion, it not only interferes with your sleep but also makes you feel rotten for an entire day. You can always run to your local health store and get a handful of medicines to deal with the problem. But medicines do not come without side effects. So, going for natural treatment measures is always a safe bet.
The following lists some simple home remedies and self-care measures to help you relieve your stuffy nose, and ease your breathing.
Good Old Steam Therapy
Steam therapy has always been an effective self-care measure to deal with nasal congestion and other symptoms of respiratory problems. You can benefit from this technique in two ways:
Method I: • Bring some water to boil, and pour it in a large vessel.
• Add 2-3 drops of eucalyptus oil to the water. [You can also use pine, peppermint, chamomile or tea tree essential oil.]
• Place your head above the vessel. Do not be too close to the water. Keep a distance of at least 30 cm.
• Cover your head with a large towel so that the rest of it covers the vessel, forming a tent filled with steam.
• Close your eyes, and take deep but gentle breaths.
• Sometimes, the steamy enclosure can make you feel overheated. In such cases, take off the towel, breathe in open air, and continue the treatment.
Method II: • Run hot water in your bathroom, and keep the door closed.
• In sometime, the place will get filled with steam.
• Stay in the bathroom, and take slow, deep breaths for 10-15 minutes. You can keep the hot water running.
Another popular alternative treatment method for a stuffy nose is nasal irrigation. It is also called nasal lavage. Here's how you go about it.
• You would require distilled or boiled water, table salt, and a bulb syringe.
• Mix ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt in 1-2 cups of warm water.
• Experts advice adding a pinch of baking soda as well. It adds to the efficacy of the solution.
• Draw in some of the saline solution using the bulb syringe.
• Lean over a sink in such a way that one nostril points towards the sink. Remember to lean forward and not to tilt your head back.
• Insert the tip of the syringe inside the nostril that is pointing up. Remember to place the tip just where the cavity begins, and not any further.
• Gently squeeze the bulb and let the liquid get inside the nasal passages. While you are doing this, breathe through your mouth.
• Be in the same position until the liquid drains out from the other nostril or your mouth. When it does, do not swallow but spit out the solution. Don't worry if you happen to swallow some of it.
• Thereafter, gently blow your nose to get rid of any remnants of the solution.
• Repeat the same procedure with the other nostril.
Note: Instead of a bulb syringe, you may use a neti pot. It is important that you clean the bulb syringe after every use. Draw in some clean water and squirt out the fluid. Do this more than once. Let it dry before storing it in a dry and clean place.
Get a Humidifier Dry indoor air can worsen nasal congestion. Using a humidifier in your room can solve this problem.
A humidifier is a machine that emits steam and raises the level of moisture in the air (humidity). But too much humidity also invites problems. According to experts, the ideal level of humidity in one's home should be between 30 and 50 percent. Using a hygrometer can help you maintain an appropriate level of moisture in your home.
Note: As helpful as humidifiers are, in relieving a stuffy nose and other symptoms, if ill-maintained, they can cause illnesses. If your humidifier is not clean or if it uses unclean water, then it can encourage bacterial or mold growths, which can trigger severe respiratory problems.
Eating foods laced with chillies is yet another simple but effective home remedy to take care of a blocked nose. The chemical capsaicin in chillies triggers your nose to run, which helps in clearing up the clogged nasal passages. Be careful, however, not to overdo this method as it may lead to other problems such as an upset stomach.
If your stuffy nose is at its worst at night while sleeping, then prop your head using more than one pillow so that it stays at a level higher than that of the heart. Sleeping in this position helps you breathe better, helps mucus drain, and prevent it from accumulating and blocking the nasal cavity.
Note: If you feel uncomfortable using too many pillows, then you can slightly raise the head of the bed. Simply place some sturdy objects under the legs of the bed.
Onions and Black Cumin
☛ Onions are potent medicines like chillies, when it comes to relieving a clogged nose. Wash one or two onions, slice them, and sniff. Along with your eyes, your nose will start running. This will give you some relief from the blockage. Adding raw onions to your meal also helps manage nasal congestion.
☛ A quick herbal remedy for a blocked nose is black cumin. Take some of these seeds in a cloth and make it into a pouch. Hold the pouch against one nostril and sniff gently. It might trigger a stinging sensation, which may even make your eyes watery. But that is what which works to unblock a clogged nose. Treat the other nostril in the same fashion. If you feel too uncomfortable, then discontinue the treatment.
Go for a Walk
If you are only bothered by a congested nose, and not feeling weak or fatigued, then don't mind going out for a walk. Exercises, even as simple as walking, improve circulation and breathing, and work as a natural decongestant, as well. But if you think the illness has taken a lot out of your body, then nothing is more beneficial than taking ample rest.
Things you Mustn't Do
☛ Avoid sniffing as much as possible. Sniffing only sucks the mucus into your lungs, delaying the recovery period. So, carry soft tissues so that you can blow your nose when you feel the need. Blow your nose gently and slowly.
☛ Avoid alcohol, smoking, pollution, allergens or irritants. All such elements irritate the sinus passages, and worsen the symptoms of any respiratory ailment.
Why do You Get a Stuffy Nose?
If you want to keep yourself from enduring the annoyance of a stuffy nose, then you got to know what causes it. Some very common illnesses which cause this symptom are as follows:
☛ What tops the list of the most common causes of nasal congestion, is common cold and flu.
☛ Low levels of moisture in the air results in drying out of the nasal passages, which ultimately causes swelling or irritation, causing a stuffy nose.
☛ Sinusitis is a common cause of this problem. It occurs when the sinuses become inflamed due to a viral, bacterial or fungal infection. Allergies may also cause the same.
☛ If you happen to suffer from a stuffy nose only at night, then the odds are, you may be allergic to your bedding materials (pillow, blankets, etc). So, consider using hypoallergenic sheets, mattresses, pillow covers, etc.
☛ If your nose always remains congested at night and during the day, then you may want to see your doctor for a defect in your nasal septum (a deviated septum). This defect may be caused due to an injury or it may be congenital.
☛ Sometimes, if you expose yourself too much to cold conditions, then you may get a stuffy nose.
☛ Many people use nasal decongestant sprays to relieve a blocked nose. However, if these medicines are used too often, then they can actually worsen the congestion instead of improving it.
☛ Chronic stuffy nose is also common, and it accounts for 70 million medical visits annually. Although, what causes this condition has not been understood thoroughly, experts believe that it could be a result of the immune system getting overwhelmed by a common airborne fungi attack.
It is important to understand that home remedies only help relieve and manage symptoms. It is most unlikely that they will cure the cause of the problem. So, if your symptoms do not improve or get worse after trying any of the above self-care measures, then see a doctor at the earliest.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this story is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.