For immediate relief, there are two similar things that I will try.
First, I take a hot shower (make the shower as hot as you can withstand). Make sure to breath in and out deeply to fill your nasal passages and your lungs with steam. If that doesn't immediately make me feel better, I will also use a pot of boiling water. Just boil the water, drape a towel over your head (helps trap steam) and breath in the steam. This will help a lot.
One last tip is to keep your head elevated while sleeping. Don't use extra pillows, try to elevate your entire body from the waist up, or you can use books under your bed to make it like a hospital bed.
In addition to the tips regarding trying to clear everything out before going to bed, I sometimes have to resort to sleeping in a good chair in a rather upright sitting position with support for my head (and usually with a leg rest).
This way I'm able to get some sleep, although the quality of sleep is better in a bed when the nose is clear.
Instead of a decongestant take a cheap anti-histamine like diphenhydramine (Benadryl). In addition stopping the flow of mucus, the first generation anti-histamines make you so drowsy you'll have hard time staying awake even if you wanted to.
Try taking a paracetamol. Although it is mainly a painkiller, it also has an anti-inflammatory action too. This can help by reducing swelling and that can affect the nasal membranes.
What we consider to be a "blocked nose" is usually nothing of the sort, it is soft tissue of the nose swollen up and blocking the airway all on its own.
I used to suffer from hayfever and once or twice tried paracetamol to help with sleep and it seemed to work for me.
Oh, I know what you mean. I have the same problem. There are two important factors to this:
I noticed that the position of the head may hinder the breathing. If I move my head a little backwards the nostrils open up and it's easier to breathe. As for the air: keep it clean (no dust - open your windows for a while before you go to sleep) and keep it humid. Humidity is so important, especially in winter when the heaters make the air very dry. I bought some air humidifiers and the problem is gone.
When that doesn't work, you may have an allergy (dust, mites) and it would be a good idea to consult a doctor.
I tend to create nose plugs out of tissue paper... it's not pretty, but its the running mucus which keeps me awake not the stuffy part. Once they're in my nose (big enough so they are easy to pull out).. then it gives me the chance I need to fall asleep.
The main problem with OTC decongestants is that your sinuses basically become "addicted" to them very quickly, giving a rebound effect when you attempt to quit using them which is often more severe than the initial problem, this is a condition called Rhinitis Medicamentosa.
One approach is to dilute the spray with saline solution over a period of time, weaning the tissue off the drug. You might also try substituting one of the corticosteroid sprays which have recently become available OTC and they are said to have less of this rebound tendency for a period of time until your sinuses readjust.
I have just finished dealing with this same problem last week, here are a few things that helped me get over it:
And no, I'm not some "all natural against western medicine" person, if it works I do it and horseradish works!
I use an oral decongestant like time released generic sudafed. A nasal steroid spray only after I spray or snort a nasal saline solution to loosen mucus and irrigate the nasal passages.
Last I use a breathe rite strip (clear works better, easier to remove in the morning).
Sleeping with the head elevated or upright in a recliner also helps.
My mother used to cut an onion and place it on a plate near my bed. You could try that.
I also like to have something soft like a towel under my pillow. That way my head is a bit more upwards, instead of lying down flat. It makes sleeping more comfortable for me.
You can try the following:
Ginger Tea: Just add a small (crushed) piece of ginger to your tea. And you can also add crushed clove, in addition to ginger.
Spicy Food: Some hot and spicy foods can relieve sinus congestion because they help to keep your mucous thin. Food with mucokinetics, or mucous-thinning activity, include chilli peppers, garlic, black pepper and curry spices. Capsaicin found in pepper makes your nose run helping you clear your nasal passage.
Vicks Vapor rub: Apply it on your nose just before you sleep and cover you face with blanket, leave a very small space for breathing. This will let the rub work more better. You can buy it from Amazon.
I have tried all the above methods. It helped me. But you should choose the one that suits you the best.
I have this problem most of the time because of allergic rhinitis - I do use a steroid spray, but sometimes, the sinuses get blocked because of a cold or because the pollution's high, and I start to feel muzzy and a bit dizzy. I put off doing the following, its such a faff and makes my fringe (bangs for folks from the USA) frizzy, but when I do force myself to do it, it works really well.
It's an old fashioned thing - an inhalation. Just means boiling a kettle of water, pouring some into a bowl, adding whatever you've got handy (Vick, Olbas Oil, Karvol, or the cheapest, a teaspoon of menthol and eucalyptus in a brown bottle from the pharmacy), throwing a towel or something large over your head and the bowl to make a tent, leaning forward over the bowl and inhaling the vapours as deeply as possible for a few minutes. You usually find you have to emerge after a minute or two to blow your nose, but then continue the procedure. Tedious - but it does work. Best done within a couple of hours of going to bed, although repeated treatments during the day do no harm. Its also important to make sure you sleep with the window slightly open, so the air's cooler and is moving.
Your sinuses are suffering from vasodilatation or nasal congestion. There's nothing to blow out that will unblock them because the passages themselves are shrinking due to the blood vessels increasing in size, and the nasal passages shrinking as a result.
Normally your sinuses do this throughout the day following a nasal cycle that allows one side to rest and remoisten while the other side handles the majority of the airflow. The frequency of this cycle depends on the environmental factors.
But now your body is fighting an infection and it's decided to play Madagascar and shut down everything. Both nostrils are not only congested, but severely so, to the point where you can't use them.
Some of the treatments suggested do provide some relief. Sitting up decreases blood pressure in the head, decreasing vasodilation. Hot steam provides very temporary relief. A nasal strip can pull the nasal passages open a little more widely. If your congestion isn't severe, or if you fall asleep quickly, then these might be sufficient.
It sounds like your congestion is bad enough, though, that you should look at vasoconstricting medications, otherwise known as decongestants. I recognize you've tried some decongestants, but there're two things you need to understand - first, one very common, over the counter decongestant in the US may not be effective, and second, a nasal spray decongestant should be tried if you've only taken oral decongestants so far.
Typically nasal decongestants will work in most cases. Pseudoephedrine is the most common over the counter oral decongestant that people indicate works, though in the US it is controlled so you'll have to ask your pharmacist for it (no prescription required). Note that if you're buying an over-the-counter decongestant in the US that doesn't require you to visit the pharmacist, it's probably Phenylephrine, and "clinical studies suggest that phenylephrine is ... not more effective than placebo". Make sure you try Pseudoephedrine before you give up on oral decongestants. Check your medicine ingredients, and talk to your pharmacist if you have any questions.
When that doesn't work, however, I've found that a direct decongestant spray, oxymetazoline, works very quickly and effectively. This is common enough that you can find it in many brand names and generics, such as Afrin. There are a number of nasal sprays that claim decongesting effects, but some are simply saline spray. Make sure you try one with oxymetazoline.
They all work the same way but use different routes to the affected area. Direct nasal spray application works very quickly, but can't be timed release, so may need to be used more frequently than an oral decongestant. Further, they are different drugs, so if one doesn't work, it's worth trying another to see how your body reacts. For me, oxymetazoline beats Pseudoephedrine which beats phenylephrine.
There is an issue where if you consistently use them your body starts to work harder to close your nasal passages, which means that once you stop you become congested even if you would normally not be congested at that point. As such, I've limited my use to only when I need to get to sleep, and usually only one spray (1/2 to 1/3 the recommended dose) in one nostril (I don't need both open to sleep), and alternate nostrils each night. Usually, I've only needed it for a day or two. If it appears you need it for more than a few days in a row, you should probably consult your doctor or GP to check for bacterial infection or other causes, or a plan to wean you from the medication once the cause is resolved.
I would suggest taking a eucalyptus/menthol lozenge or inhalation of Menthol & Eucalyptus Oil to clear your nose.
I would recommend using some form of nasal irrigation before going to bed.
The idea is to run a mild salt solution through your nasal passages which clears stuffiness out and helps disinfect and thus de-inflame. It sounds kind of gross, but it really works well for me.
Without making any specific product recommendations, there are several inexpensive products available usually available in your local pharmacy (assuming US).
Additionally you may have a deviated septum which will make your situation worse. It might be worth getting it checked out by an ENT specialist.
Some have found that a sexual climax has the side effect of clearing the sinus. More fun than spray decongestants.