British Lung Foundation
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I can't breathe properly at night and it wakes me up.

I have trouble breathing at night because my nose always feels blocked an stuffy. This causes me to breath out of my mouth which then becomes dry and wakes me up. Has anyone got any tips to help. Blowing my nose doesn't really help.

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I have the same problem Martyn. I use Sterimar nasal spray to help unblock, unfortunately I still find it blocks again overnight. If you are getting a bleed you need to ask your doc about a nasal cream to help stop that. You can also buy over the counter at chemists a dry mouth spray, Boots do their own brand at a reasonable price, not a substitute for drinking water of course but just as an additional aid to use during the night.

Same problem here Wiggins :) I've lost count of the number of times I've visited my GP about this problem. The last time he examined my nasal passages and discovered a lot of inflamation so I was given (yet another) course of antibiotics plus some antiseptic cream, but it hasn't made any difference to the stuffiness problem.

He did say, though, that if there was no improvement within a couple of months then he would refer me to an ear, nose and throat specialist, so I'll keep you posted on any development :)

I have been practising when possible breathing in through my nose and out through nose or mouth - my mouth is less dry and my sinuses are clearer - not sure whether this is coincidental or not ! also I press acupuncture spots around cheekbones and brows and this helps loosen congestion in sinuses.

If you have some kind of nasal obstruction, caused by inflammation, polyps or a deviated septum for example, then an ENT specialist might indeed be the best option, as there are treatments available for all of these. Your GP should be able to refer you if he or she feels that there may be a physical cause to your symptoms. The NHS CHoices website has lots more information. Hope this helps!

Hi Wiggins, I have this problem too. My ENT doctor told me to clean out my sinuses with a product called Sterimar from Boots it is fabulous, then before sleeping i smear a little vaseline or vick on both nostrils this helps to keep my mouth shut and cuts down on allergies like dust mite, hayfever etc. In the morning I do the Sterimar again and wash my eyelashes with baby shampoo. Sounds weird I know but it all works. I do not suffer from gritty eyes anymore. All these can be done as many times a day as you need. Sometimes when I am really bunged up I use the Sterimar during the night. Hope it works for you. Maximonkey

I experience a blocked nostril often, but not usually both at the same time. I find that sleeping on the side oif the unblocked nostril allows the other nostril to unblock. I should say used to as I have recently started to use a nippy at night and might feel a little stuffy but never blocked. I have alwys trusted my nose to leave one nostril in use. We used to practice breathing through each nostril when I did yoga: perhaps that helped.

When I first started using oxygen I had trouble with bleeding and stuffiness and used a humidifier which had to use sterilised water which was supplied on prescription. A cold seemed to clear that up!

Good luck.

Hey, so what you write is like spot on exactly what I've been experiencing. I fee like I can't breathe sometimes and my chest gets congested and my sinus too.

Thanks everyone. EeJay, I know what you mean, this has worked for me on occasion, I mean laying on one side sometimes unblocks the other but it doesn't always work. I've never been to my GP with the problem, I've always thought it would be thought of as a trivial matter. Now I have Asthma and COPD I'm taking it a bit more serious so I'll get around to going to my GP.

I may have some kind of nasal obstruction.

I don't have any bleeding with it and I don't have any problems when I'm up and about, yes I still feel stuffy but I breath through my nose fine, even when I lay down I'm fine, it's only when I'm asleep, except of course when I've got cold.

Hi Wiggins

I have the same symptoms. As soon as I fall asleep, both my nostrils sieze shut and im left gasping for air through the mouth for the rest of the night. When I wake up my mouth is super-dry. Not even saliva left in there. I also feel chest/lung pain. I have to get up and drink water at night at least twice or I don't think i will make it through a full night.

I will be seeing an ENT by next week for the problem. The GP has failed to help me with this issue so I got an appointment with an ENT. He has prescribed asthma pumps and nasal sprays etc.

Reply to me and I will let you know what happens with the ENT what the actual cause of the problem is and whether surgical intervention helps.

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So how did the net go for your breathing problem? I have the same symptoms.

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Hi , I was just wondering what happened when you seen the ENT and what they recommended has what you discribe I have the same symptoms.

My doctor just keeps telling me to drink plenty off water which I do and if I didn't during the night I can't breath and end up grasping for air

It would really help if you had a update


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Hey ,I have same problem,have you had any luck with yours

I have the same problem


I've had the same problem for the last 3 days and sleep by 30 min interval. Only last night i realized what was going on.

If you don't want to read my whole story about my different failed attempt to resolve this, just skip to the last paragraph.

In sum, i got Pneumonia and my nose is filled with mucus all the time. I go thru a whole box of tissue a day to blow it all out. 3 days ago, i couldn't sleep anymore since i was breathing thru my mouth (nose stuffed), as soon as i start breathing thru my mouth, I could feel the whole air track being very very dry, which awakens me since the throat / tongue sends a sharp pain when it "tries" to rehumidify (swallow motion, but no saliva). When i wake up, i drink some water (painful) but it rehydrathes my mouth / air track. Yet, the whole thing happens again as soon as I start breathing with my mouth again. The following is what i tried to resolve the problem:

Added humidifier to my room and blows over my face: didn't help at all

-Took Cepacol (lozenge that numbs the throat); Kinda of works for 30 min as it force production of saliva and i feel less my throat, but after 30 ish minutes its the same again. I cannot take ten of these per night... My tongue feels really irritated.

-Drink juice / 7up: helps a bit, as it seems to stay a little bit longer than water in my throat, probably messing up my teeths though...

-Breathing directly from the humidifier: It works! breathing very humid air keeps my air track humid. Tried for many hours... then Read on it and it would appear doing this is very dangerous, as water droplets enters your lungs, then this could cause serious infections. I really don't need another infection at the moment...

-Took some cough syrup: Kinda works, if you don't rince your mouth with water: basically there's a layer inside the air track that seems to stay and doesn't dry when you breath.

-I was thinking about gulping a spoon of Olive oil: Didn't try it. was just an idea.

After all that, i though if i could get my nose to clear, then all this could be prevented, I tried:

-Hydrasense (salty water spray in nose): really didn't do much

-Otrivin (decongestion spray): Works for some times, but as soon as the mucus builds up, its blocked again

-Steroid spray (prescribed by doctor when i explained my situation): its like a stronger version of Otrivin, but as soon as mucus builds up, specially when i lay down, its blocked again

-Breath Right Strips: Helps a bit as it makes the nose cavity bigger, but when too much mucus builds up, its blocked again.

-Secaris nose gel: I tried to clean my nose, then apply a layer of nose gel: Its keeps the nose moist, but does not help for the blockage

-Shower / Bowl of hot water + cloth to cover and breath: It does work, but as soon as i lay down, its starts to block

-Tilting my head back and try sleeping sitting in 45 degree angle: it works, the mucus seems to go the other way (down the throat) and its not blocked anymore. Hard to sleep though. Furthermore, i realized that my nose and the air track is very dry again... Hence, instead of mouth + air track dry, i get nose + air track dry... Meaning unblocking my nose does not solve the problem...

Finally on the forth day, i was so tired and lazy i just stop blowing my nose... and then it hit me: Its the fact that I've been blowing constantly my nose to get the all mucus out + tried to spit out all "slimy" saliva out of my mouth, and the constant drinking of water, caused my air track to be VERY SQUEAKY CLEAN. That was why the air track was getting dried up so fast. So people: Stop blowing constantly your nose / spit out all slimy saliva from mouth, and it wont dry out as fast anymore... Its a good thing to get a bit of mucus going down the throat...

I hope it will help someone, as forums / internet has always been a source of knowledge for me in time of illness.

I believe all these posts are where I have been for the last 10 years, ie, GP's with no idea, one NHS ENT consultant with no idea and one Spires private (and works for NHS) also with no idea. Just diagnosed that the upper part of my mouth slips down on me lying down to cause nostril/s to block; mouth breathing not affected. Just started with migraines and the poor breathing/pain in nose and face when lying down causes the migraines to bite me most mornings. After researching migraines, unless one has a blockage, eg, polyp, or nasal infection, or my recent mouth diagnosis, sinus headaches do not exist. Why? Because sinus headaches fall within the spectrum of migraines. All headaches, including hangovers, sinus headaches, tension headaches, etc, etc, all fall within the the migraine spectrum from 1 to 10; 10 being the worst, which we all call migraine. I digress. My ENT consultant told me to sleep at 30 degrees; impossible I find due to sore neck and shoulders, which for me lead to a migraine. He did not give my diagnosis a name, but the net advises to sleep at 30 degrees due to sleep apnoea, which is the same as the advice he gave. The worst cases need CPAP; look it up. He said there was nothing that could be done. The net advises to buy a MAD device that puts the jaw into such an alignment as to clear the nose whilst lying down. Why did he not advise this? I have asked for a copy letter to take to my dentist who apparently can make this MAD thing - look it up. I have also found exercises on the net to increase muscle tone to the upper mouth. Why didn't he advise any of this? After my recent experience with Consultants, I am concerned he may not have known his stuff; but maybe he just didn't care (same thing). Seeing dentist this week and I hope beyond hope that this MAD thing works. You can buy then off the net; I expect the dentist made version to be 4 times the price.

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