If you have chronic sinusitis, getting a good night’s sleep is a crucial part of your recovery. That’s why having chronic sinusitis and sleep apnea is such an exhausting predicament.
Whether your sleep apnea is brought on by a nasal obstruction worsened or caused by sinusitis, or you struggle with sleep apnea even when your sinuses are under control, these tips and treatments may help you find some relief.
A quick refresher: Does nasal congestion cause sleep apnea?
Before we dive deeper into sinusitis and sleep apnea, let’s back up a little and discuss how the two conditions are connected. While the relationship between nasal congestion caused by chronic sinusitis and sleep apnea is still being researched, most ENT doctors agree that the two are linked.
The most understood means by which sinusitis is linked to sleep apnea has to do with a patient’s anatomy. In fact, patients with a nasal obstruction caused or exacerbated by sinusitis will almost certainly fail a sleep study. Nasal obstructions can cause sleep apnea can interfere with the use of sleep masks.
Additionally, anatomical problems such as a deviated septum or nasal polyps create less than ideal conditions within your sinus passageways, which in turn can lead to the occurrence of either chronic sinusitis, sleep apnea, or both.
Note that sleep apnea can be worsened by non-chronic sinusitis related nasal congestion, such as allergies or even a cold. For more information, we recommend reading up on the difference between sinusitis and a cold and making sure you know how to answer the question, “What is chronic sinusitis?”
Home remedies for chronic sinusitis and sleep apnea
If you regularly deal with chronic sinusitis and sleep apnea, we highly recommend seeing your doctor. However, there are steps you can take on your own to find some relief. These steps include:
- Quit smoking to decrease additional tissue inflammation in your airways.
- Take a break from alcohol (alcohol may relax your throat muscles to the point that it becomes difficult to breathe during sleep). Sedatives may have the same effect.
- Weight loss and regular exercise (if you are overweight) may help alleviate sleep apnea symptoms.
- Get tested for food and airborne allergies to see if your sinus passageways are becoming inflamed by allergens, as well as chronic sinusitis.
- Maintain healthy sleeping habits, which include going to bed and waking up at consistent times, avoiding caffeine after midday, and eating your last meal no less than two hours before bedtime.
Sleeping positions and other bedtime tricks for sleeping with chronic sinusitis and sleep apnea
Patients often find it easier to ignore their chronic sinusitis and sleep apnea symptoms during the day. There are many hypothesized causes behind this phenomena, but at the end of the day (literally), many of us simply want to know how to find relief from these symptoms. The following methods have been found helpful for doing just that:
- Sleeping on your side: The lateral position is the best position to sleep with a sinus infection and sleep apnea. Side-sleeping lessons the pull of gravity on your throat muscles, which can alleviate both snoring and sleep apnea.
- Positional therapy: There are pillows you can purchase that keep you from turning onto your back while asleep. If you need a quick fix, the “tennis ball trick” may help: sew a tennis ball into the back of your pajama top and this should keep you from rolling over. You may also find relief by using an extra pillow or a pillow wedge to prop up your head.
- Nasal strips or saline spray: The use of these simple products can go a long way in opening up your nasal passages and in turn, helping you get a full night of sleep.
Targeted chronic sinusitis and sleep apnea treatment
If these at-home solutions aren’t helping you get the sleep you need, pursuing more aggressive strategies for relief from chronic sinusitis and sleep apnea might be the answer. There are several avenues you can take, so it’s always wise to consult your doctor about which option is best for you. Your ENT may suggest:
- Balloon sinuplasty: Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive treatment that provides patients with relief from sinus issues. The procedure lasts less than 20 minutes, and it uses a small balloon to inflate the sinus passageways and restore natural sinus drainage. This highly successful procedure can be performed in-office, and balloon sinuplasty aftercare is minimal.
- Sinus surgery: Depending on the severity and cause of your chronic sinusitis and sleep apnea, your doctor might recommend chronic sinus surgery. There are several types of chronic sinus surgery, including FESS sinus surgery, image-guided surgery, and more.
Find relief from chronic sinusitis and sleep apnea at Sinus Solutions of South Florida
Getting a good night’s sleep with chronic sinusitis and sleep apnea is incredibly important. But getting a good night’s sleep with chronic sinusitis and sleep apnea can also be incredibly difficult.
Dr. Napoleon G. Bequer is one of the leading ENT practitioners in South Florida. Using balloon sinuplasty, sinus surgery, or other treatment methods, Bequer and the staff at Sinus Solutions of South Florida can help you find better sleep.
Say “so long” to sleep apnea and sinusitis. Request a consultation at our ENT offices in either Tampa or West Palm Beach by calling (561) 790-7744 or contacting us online.