You thought your sinus infection was getting better. You’re sneezing less, your headache is almost gone, and your nose is less runny. But then you crawled into bed and pulled the covers on and suddenly everything seems a lot worse.
Your sinus infection does appear to be more severe at night. This isn’t an unusual development for many people. But why do things get so much worse at night?
It Does Seem like Sinus Infection Are Worse at Night
It’s not difficult to feel like you are having a relapse when you lay down at night and suddenly feel lousy. You’re feeling worse even though you’re resting? That doesn’t seem right. But just because your infection feels worse at night doesn’t necessarily mean it’s coming back. So the severity of symptoms isn’t always a relapse.
That said, as with any illness, sleep can be crucial to your recovery. Your immune system relies on a restful eight hours of sleep each night to function correctly. And naturally, you will feel more miserable when you get up if you don’t get a restful night’s sleep. You can sleep more soundly and feel better by determining why your symptoms increase at night.
Why Sinus Infections Feel so Bad When You’re Attempting to Sleep
Currently, we still don’t know for certain why sinus infections would be worse at night.
Probably, it’s a collection of factors at work. Here are some of the more likely triggers:
Blood Flow Changes
Inflammation is a big part of the discomfort when you have a sinus infection. Sinus pressure is one consequence of this. Inflammation is, among other things, very responsive to blood flow and blood pressure.
The blood vessels in your sinuses, theoretically, expand somewhat at night. In most cases, this isn’t a problem, it’s just a normal part of living. But when you have a sinus infection, this increased blood flow and higher blood pressure may result in greater inflammation. And your symptoms can, in turn, be aggravated by that inflammation.
Possible solution: Try elevating your head while you sleep.
Gravity is Working Against You
Gravity does the work for you when you’re standing and your sinuses clear on their own. But when you are lying down gravity is affecting your sinuses in a different direction. This makes it harder for your sinuses to empty. This can make you miserable as you’re attempting to sleep for the night.
Your infection could get worse as postnasal drip, having nowhere else to go, finds it’s way into your throat.
Possible solutions: Once again, try sleeping with your head elevated or sleep with an extra pillow. You can also try taking an over-the-counter decongestant or sinus medication to help relieve your symptoms (and, needless to say, follow all the requisite instructions for any medications you take).
You’re Not as Distracted
During the day you’re normally more energetic and busier. You concentrate on the activity at hand or the movie you’re watching. When you go to bed, however, all of those distractions fade away, and you’re left with nothing to pay attention to except the uncomfortable drip of mucus in the back of your throat or the pounding sinus pressure beneath your eyes. This can make it feel as though your symptoms are worse but, actually, you’re simply noticing them a bit more.
Possible solution: Try using a humidifier. adding moisture to the air can help relieve some of your symptoms and the sound of the humidifier can be a mental distraction.
It’s important to seek out medical help if your sinus infection doesn’t seem to be getting better.