If you go to bed with clear sinuses and wake up with blocked sinuses something is happening during your sleep that causes the change. Why sinus pressure builds up during sleep is not widely known or understood and it’s simple to fix.
Morning sinus congestion, also known as 'morning nose', is not necessarily a sign of a bacterial infection in your sinuses needing medication, otherwise you would feel the pain and pressure during the day and before going to bed.
UNDERSTANDING WHAT SINUSES DO?
WHAT CAUSES SINUS PRESSURE?
When the linings of the channels that connect the sinuses to the nose become inflamed they impair the ability of the sinuses to drain normally. Pressure may begin to build up within the blocked sinus. The swelling and inflammation then back up into the sinus cavities with increased mucus and fluid secretion. Pressure can also develop at contact points between two structures in the nose and sinuses that swell against each other.
WHAT CAUSES SINUS HEADACHES?
All the above-mentioned factors can combine to create the pain of a sinus headache. Sinus headaches are associated with a deep constant pain, pressure and fullness in the cheekbones, forehead or bridge of the nose. The pain typically intensifies with sudden head movement, straining, or first getting up out of bed. The part of the face in the area of the affected sinus can be tender to the touch.
MOUTH BREATHING DURING SLEEP.
Unless you breathe constantly through your nose, especially at night, your sinuses will stagnate and may eventually become infected. You may go to sleep breathing through your nose but when your mouth opens you will naturally switch your breathing from your nose to your mouth. This will cause the nasal and sinus passages to be starved of fresh air so your brain increases mucous production to help protect you from pathogens and deficits in carbon dioxide levels. This increase in mucous blocks the nasal passages causing ‘morning nose’ and sinus pressure, forces you to continue breathing through your mouth, creating a cycle of mouth breathing leading to chronic sinusitis and sinus pain.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE SINUS PAIN?
If you are inclined to breathe through your mouth excessively or during sleep you may want to deal with this habit. If your sinus pain persists or occurs regularly you should consult your medical professional to find the reason.
SINUS SURGERY AND AFTER CARE.
Your ENT surgeon will tell you if sinus surgery is required. Sinus surgery involves the precise removal of diseased sinus tissue to improve the natural drainage channels by the creation of a pathway for infected material to drain from the sinus cavities.
An essential part of recovery should include the return to nasal breathing as soon as possible after surgery to keep your sinuses ventilated and healthy to avoid re-infection. Keeping your mouth closed during sleep will help reduce suffering from morning sinus pressure.
Updated 17 February 2020
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