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Lawrence Chow / ENT Doctor

Why Do Some People Have Nose Congestion at Night?

During the day, you are pleasantly busy with your daily endeavor that you never notice for even a short while that you have nasal congestion. Then at night, before going to bed, you detect the unmistakable stuffiness building up in your nasal passageways.

That is not the whole story, however.


Rationales of Nighttime Congestion

One can conjure many a reason for nasal congestion at night. Common sense would pull you to believe that gravity is one of the players in the team. Another innocuous alibi is taking too much food at dinner and goes to sleep just barely an hour after a feast.


Think of whatever you want, blame all the fairies and witches and goblins that trample your imaginings, but here are a few of the causes of such condition as nose congestion at night.


The Supine Position

Lying down flat on your back alters the scene drastically. Gravity is shared equally on all points of your body, for one thing. Blood flow, for another, is a little more pronounced in the head and nose, inflaming the blood vessels inside the nose and passageways.


The enlargement of these vessels, and with gravity as an accomplice, causes the ever-present mucus in the nose to stay and behave making you feel stuffy for the night.


Compare this with daytime activity when you are upright with no nasal blood vessel inflammation and mucus is free at will to slide down your throat and gets swallowed because of gravity. Hardly do we notice this episode that gets repeated a lot of times before dinner.


Flowback of acids

Not quite an expected guest but acid reflux is one influencer of nose congestion at night. Currently accepted by medical professionals that this condition is a link to chronic sinusitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and nasal congestion.


This is the ailment wherein stomach acids will flow back up to the esophagus area causing sore throats or throat ulcers or heartburns and even nasal congestion. An enhanced effect will be more felt when lying down.


The nasal passageways are the right next-door neighbor of the throat and the oral orifice.


Dander and Mites

Dust mites and pet dander must be considered as cause to nasal congestion at night according to a faction in the medical profession. This is so because a certain type of people get slight allergies from pet hair and mites.



  • Clean your bed thoroughly.
  • Refrain from eating a couple of hours prior to bed.
  • Raise your head.
  • A humidifier with a cool mist will help.
  • Tobacco is not good at all.


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