More Congested With Mucus at Night? Here’s How to Fix It

Have you ever noticed that congestion seems to get worse at night? It may seem like right around the time you’d like to lay it down for the night you notice how you can’t breathe as easy because your nose is too stuffy.

There could be a number of reasons for that:

1.) Gravity

When we lie down our blood pressure changes, and we may experience increased blood flow to the upper part of our body including our head and nasal passageways. This increased blood flow can make the vessels inside our nose and nasal passageways even more inflamed. If you’ve ever been pregnant or been around someone pregnant, the discomfort when laying down isn’t only caused by the baby, but the increased blood flow also commonly causes congestion.

A lying-down position also makes it more difficult to clear mucus from our nose and sinus cavities. For example, while we are standing up during the day, mucus is constantly running from our nose and sinuses into the backs of our throat and being swallowed. Most of the time we don’t even notice this. At night, however, this mucus may pool or back up. Many people notice that their congestion starts to improve an hour or two after they get up in the morning. That’s gravity working in your favor instead of against you.

2.) The Climate

A dry environment can exacerbate an already irritated throat and nose and prevent mucus from loosening. When mucus gathers in your throat, rather than moving freely, it may start to clog your airways causing you to cough. These issues are particularly common during winter months, especially if you live in a cooler climate.

3.) Heavy alcohol use

Choking on saliva can also occur after heavy alcohol use. Alcohol is a depressant. Consuming too much alcohol can slow muscle response. Being unconscious or incapacitated from consuming too much alcohol can cause saliva to pool in the back of the mouth instead of flowing down the throat. Sleeping with your head elevated can improve saliva flow and prevent choking.

4.) Acid Reflux

Another reason could be acid reflux (heartburn). Fairly common symptoms of acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) include sore throat, coughing, post nasal drip, wheezing, and hoarseness.2 These symptoms tend to be worse when you wake up in the morning. Many of these symptoms occur when individuals with an impaired esophageal sphincter (valve) and a stomach full of acid lie down at night. The acid in the stomach can migrate up the esophagus and irritate the back of the throat, which also happens to be connected to the nasal passageways.

So now that you what may be causing it, how do you fix it?

While there’s no instant fix for coughing up mucus at night, you can take steps to improve your symptoms and get you on the road to recovery.

– Sip on…