Nasal congestion, otherwise known as a stuffy nose, can happen to you regardless of whether or not you have allergies. Often, a stuffed up nose can be the result of a cold, the flu or dry air and shouldn’t be a cause for concern. However, if you notice recurring and persistent nasal congestion, particularly at night, then there may be something in your environment that’s causing your body to react this way.One of the most common reasons for a stuffy nose is mold, and if you experience this repeatedly over a long period of time, you likely have a mold problem somewhere in your house – one that should be remediated as soon as possible.
What Causes Nasal Congestion?
1. Dry air The nose acts as a filter, preparing the air you’ve just inhaled for your lungs. At times, the process is hindered by various factors such as changes in humidity levels. When there is an inadequate amount of humidity in the air, the nasal membranes cannot produce enough mucous. The nasal passages can then dry out and suffer from irritation and swelling. Since we breathe deeper when we sleep, nasal congestion is amplified at night.
2. Gravity Sinuses are small airbags found near the bones of the face. Since gravity plays a big role in sinus drainage, you may find it very difficult to breathe through your nose if your sinuses cannot drain properly. For most people this problem gets worse at night because lying down forces the sinuses to drain down the back of your throat and cause irritation. If you lie on one side, the sinuses will drain to that side, making it difficult to breathe through that nostril.
3. Allergies Allergies are another cause of night-time stuffiness. You may experience an allergic reaction to a certain type of laundry detergent or it may occur when your face comes into contact with the sheets or pillowcase you sleep on. If your allergies or breathing difficulties appear only at night, you may be allergic to the material or stuffing in your pillow.
Alternatively, you may be allergic to mold, which can grow behind your walls or in your carpets without you having any knowledge of it. Such allergens cause an influx of histamines, which often lead to a stuffy nose.
Helpful Tips for Reducing a Stuffy Nose
Nasal decongestants in the form of sprays and tablets can help relieve a stuffy nose. However, these are only temporary fixes and should not be used too often as they can become addictive. In fact, nasal sprays can actually damage your nasal passages if used in excess.
A humidifier can also help reduce stuffiness by adding moisture to the air and promoting mucous production.
If you are still having persistent stuffy nose, you should contact your doctor or another medical professional.