How to Relieve Sinus Pressure
Sinus pressure can feel like pins and needles when you’re trying to sleep. It’s hard to get comfortable, much less rest — and when you have a cold or sinus infection, you know you need plenty of that. The following steps can help reduce sinus pressure, paving the way to peaceful zees.
With a pillow, that is. When you're dealing with sinus pressure, you may notice that your symptoms amp up during the night — and for good reason. When you lie flat on your back, mucus gathers in your sinuses, increasing pressure when you have an infection. To counteract this, prop up your head with an extra pillow. This helps reduce pooling of mucus and makes breathing much easier.
If allergies are to blame for your sinus pressure, consider taking an antihistamine before bed. This type of medication works by blocking substances called histamines, which trigger symptoms such as sneezing or runny nose. Taking one near bedtime can be a win-win because some varieties make you sleepy. If your symptoms are caused by sinusitis, however, avoid antihistamines unless prescribed by your doctor; otherwise, they could thicken your mucus.
A glass of wine may seem relaxing, but the alcohol can actually interfere with sleep, especially if you’re experiencing sinus pressure. Alcohol can make you feel even more congested. Caffeine can have a similar effect, tinkering with sleep and your sinuses. Both caffeine and alcohol can contribute to dehydration, which exacerbates sinus strain. Limit or avoid both substances, particularly near bedtime.
- Practice gentle hygiene. Blow your nose to reduce mucus before bed, but do so one nostril at a time. Aggressive blowing can increase irritation and move harmful bacteria into your sinuses.
- Add steam to the air. Take a steamy shower near bedtime or use a humidifier to add< moisture to the air, which guards against mucus blockage.
- Keep a healthy sleep routine. While it's helpful for almost anyone, keeping routine sleep and wake times and snoozing in a dark, comfortable room without distraction, such as TV, is especially important for rest amid sinus problems.
- Stay well-hydrated. Drinking plenty of water can help keep mucus loose and thin, rather than thick and pressure-inducing. Other hydrating options include broth, herbal tea and juices.
- Use nasal spray decongestants with caution. By acting on blood vessels and keeping your nostrils open, over-the-counter topical decongestants can help ease sinus strain. Don't use them for more than a day or two, though, which could invite more swelling.
- Harvard Health Publications: What to Do About Sinusitis
- WedMD: Do I Need Antihistamines for Allergies?
- Everyday Health: 8 Ways to Sleep Better With Sinus Pain and Congestion