3 Common Sinus Problems That Can Affect Your Sleep


Getting a good snooze at night isn't easy when your sinus problems start to flare up. Breathing problems coupled with sleep noises can spell trouble for you. If you're dealing with sinus problems, sleeping well at night may seem impossible.

"Sinus infection, allergies, and other causes of nasal obstruction can make breathing difficult at night,” Samer Fakhri, MD, said. “Anything that causes you to breathe through your mouth prevents your nose from warming, filtering, and moistening the air you breathe and can result in a high level of sleep disturbance.” Dr. Fakhri is an associate professor of otolaryngology at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston.

Breathing through the mouth can trigger more problems, Dr. Kathleen L. Yaremchuk, of the ENT department at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, added.

“Breathing through your nose is less work because there is more resistance breathing through your mouth,” Dr. Yaremchuk explained. “When you breathe through your mouth at night, your jaw and tongue can fall back and block your airway, causing increased likelihood of sleep apnea and snoring.”

Here are the three common ENT problems that can affect your ability to sleep well:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Did you know there are about 12 million people in the U.S. struggling with obstructive sleep apnea? Being overweight and reaching the age of 65 are among the usual risk factors for this condition.

Obstructive sleep apnea can interfere with your ability to sleep at night, resulting in daytime sleepiness. In severe cases, obstructive sleep apnea can trigger heart problems and high blood pressure. Other common symptoms of this condition include absence of breathing and loud snoring.

Mucosal Obstruction

When the linings of your nose swell, it can make breathing difficult. This can make sleeping challenging, as well. Nasal allergies, common cold and sinus infections are among the usual causes of mucosal obstruction. The common symptoms for this condition, which can make for uncomfortable bedtime, include postnasal drip and sinus pain.

Anatomical Obstruction

Being overweight can contribute to breathing difficulties at night. This is also true for children who have enlarged adenoids and tonsils. Airway obstructions that lead to trouble breathing also include anatomical irregularities such as a bony nasal structure or nasal polyps. In addition, an extra-long soft palate is a contributing factor for snoring and sleep apnea.


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