Constantly waking up at night because you can’t breathe through your mouth or nose properly? We’ve all been there whether it’s caused by hayfever, a cold, a respiratory health condition or snoring. Today I’m taking a look at how these factors can make us wake up during the night as well as some handy tips to help.
Why do I snore?
This is perhaps the most common sleep-related complaint – either from an individual themselves or their partner’s complaints of the noise! Snoring happens when you can’t move air freely through your nose and throat as you sleep. As a result, a vibrating sound occurs from the surrounding tissues and there we have it – loud snoring.
Unfortunately there is no one solution to fix snoring because there are multiple reasons that can cause it in the first place! It can be caused by lifestyle factors such as being overweight or drinking alcohol, but it can also be caused by health conditions and the general structure of your nose.
Tips to ease snoring for a better night’s rest
Sleeping on your back will most likely make your snoring to be louder because of additional pressure on the nasal passageways. Sleeping on your side prevents the tongue from falling back and blocking the throat during sleep.
Open up your nasal passages
Keeping the nasal passages clear can help to prevent snoring in some cases. Most of us breathe through our noses naturally when we sleep however, if the nasal passages are obstructed then the default option is to breathe through the mouth which, as a result, can make the possibility of snoring more likely. Why not try using a neti pot to clear out the nasal passages?
Dust and other allergens can block up the nose and contribute to snoring. Dust build-up can compromise the clean air and result in more laboured breathing.
Sleep and your immune system
We’ve all been there – snuffly nose, sore throat and coughs which are not only irritating but can make it troublesome for us to get to sleep and to stay asleep. What’s more, a lack of sleep can severely impair your immunity and make you more vulnerable to infections like colds and flu. If we have a cold we often feel more congested at night, but why? Well, at night and when we are sleeping, we are usually lying down which increases the pressure in the veins in the nose.
Unfortunately, we often tend to breathe naturally through the nose when we fall asleep and, when we have a blocked nose, this often means we wake up more often during the night because our quality of breathing is impaired. Breathing through the mouth also presents its own kind of problems; it can cause snoring (which may lead to your partner getting less sleep!) but it can also lead to a dry mouth and throat.
So what can you do to sleep better with the cold or flu?
Sleep on a slight incline
This may be difficult for those of you who are used to lying on one pillow or completely flat. However, if you’re blocked nose and cough is really keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep I’d suggest propping up with an extra pillow. This will help to reduce the pressure in the veins in the nose.
Be careful when you choose cold and flu medications!
While it’s tempting to load up on decongestants, hot-drinks and tablets, a lot of these contain caffeine which everyone knows is an absolute no-no when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep.
Choose herbs instead!
Although a lot of conventional cold and flu meds contain caffeine you’ll be happy to know that our herbs don’t and are 100% natural and caffeine-free! We have a whole range of products that can help relieve your cold, but my personal favourites are the Echinaforce hot drink and the Sinuforce Nasal Spray.
Take time off
When we are ill our automatic response is – ‘this is an inconvenience,’ ‘I have to get back to work,’ ‘I have too much to do today’ etc… However, pushing through when we need to take a step back can actually make us worse off in the long run and more prone to secondary infection. Be honest with yourself about how you are feeling and if you need to take some time out to recover do it!
Sleep and hayfever
Ah hayfever season – the season of sneezes! Those of you who experience hayfever will know exactly what I’m talking about while those of you who don’t will be blissfully unaware! For many, hayfever symptoms can get worse before bedtime and affect our sleep. Pollen begins to fall back to the ground as the temperature drops which means that hayfever sufferers are exposed to higher levels of pollen later in the day. Some plants also release pollen later in the day as well as in the early morning meaning that you can be affected by groggy hayfever symptoms even before you wake!
So what can you do to sleep better with hayfever?
• Shut out all pollen
Although it is often warmer during hayfever season, leaving the windows open at night can mean that pollen can get into the bedroom. Instead, try to invest in a good quality fan that will keep you cool without letting the pollen in to aggravate your symptoms.
• Wash your hair and bed sheets
Pollen can linger and stick in your hair, which can then get transferred to your pillow and cause irritation as you sleep at night. Don’t hang your bed sheets outside if you suffer from hayfever as they are bound to pick up some pollen.
• Herbal help
Pollinosan is our go-to herbal remedy for hayfever symptoms, so try taking a Pollinosan Hayfever tablet with your evening meal. You can also use our Pollinosan Luffa Nasal Spray just before bedtime to clear your nasal passages of any pollen, dust or other allergen particles that may have accumulated there.
Sleep and respiratory conditions
If you struggle to sleep at night as a result of a respiratory condition such as asthma or sleep apnoea I’d first of all recommend that you go to a doctor for a consultation as respiratory conditions are not health concerns to take lightly! That being said, there are a couple of general ways you can improve your quality of sleep and prevent waking up repeatedly at night.
So what can you do to sleep better with a respiratory condition?
Don’t eat late at night
As I have already mentioned, eating late can cause us to wake up throughout the night because our body is busy at work digesting when it should be resting and restoring.
Why not try herbal sleeping aids to ease you off into a gentle sleep? Dormeasan contains Valerian and Hops to help relax you into an uninterrupted, natural sleep that doesn’t contain any drowsy side effects of conventional sleeping pills.
Practice deep breathing
Deep breathing techniques will help to strengthen your lung capacity and optimise your breathing.