The People's Perspective on Medicine

Do Nasal Vents Help Nighttime Congestion?

One reader found a product to prop the nostrils open eased nighttime congestion and helped improve sleep.

During allergy season, many people are troubled with nighttime congestion. A stuffy nose can make it hard to breathe, and that in turn disrupts sleep. If a person chooses a decongestant nasal spray to manage this problem, he or she will need to be very careful not to use it for more than a few days. Otherwise, he might experience nose spray addiction. What other options are there to help clear up this problem?

SnoreCare Vents for Nighttime Congestion:

Q. Sometimes people write to you about nasal congestion at night. This happened frequently to me until I started using SnoreCare nasal vents. These really open my nasal passages and I no longer feel congested. I hope you will pass this hint along.

A. It comes as no surprise that nasal congestion could interfere with nighttime breathing (Georgalas, European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Sep. 2011).  Doctors generally prescribe steroid nasal sprays such as Flonase or a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine for such problems.

Vents and Strips Can Ease Nasal Congestion at Night:

Nasal vents or nasal strips such as Breathe Right can improve nasal breathing (Camacho et al, Pulmonary Medicine, Dec. 13, 2016). However, they don’t do much for serious sleep apnea. Someone struggling with chronic nighttime congestion might need a stronger solution than such nasal dilators. If a CPAP machine is not an option, special exercises to strengthen the tongue and throat may be helpful (Camacho et al, Sleep, May 1, 2015).

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
  • Georgalas C, "The role of the nose in snoring and sleep apnoea: An update." European Archives of Otorhinolaryngology, Sep. 2011. DOI: 10.1007/s00405-010-1469-7
  • Camacho M et al, "Nasal Dilators (Breathe Right Strips and NoZovent) for Snoring and OSA: A systematic review and meta-analysis." Pulmonary Medicine, Dec. 13, 2016.
  • Camacho M et al, "Myofunctional therapy to treat obstructive sleep apnea: A systematic review and meta-analysis." Sleep, May 1, 2015. DOI: 10.5665/sleep.4652
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I use Breathe Right strips every night. For some reason my left nostril closes when I sleep on my right side. These have been life savers. A little pricey but they help me.

I tried using a nasal dilator a few weeks ago, and now I don’t go to bed without it. It is amazing how well it works for me. I’m used to it now but the first week was like I could breathe better than ever. I would like to wear it all day but people would make fun of me.

Although not a recognized benefit of Vascepa, I found that 2 grams/d (although 4 gr/d is the usual dose) reduced inflammation, enough that my wife reported my snoring went from strong to tolerable. Your results may differ.

Nasal Vents. I’ve never heard of the term, but I think that is what I use. I tried the tape but it was hard on the outside of my nose. These ‘vents’ are a lifesaver… soft plastic pieces with lots of ventilation space, inserted as far into the nose as I can comfortably put them and the air comes through wonderfully. Almost no air coming through before the vents, and it felt like I was on oxygen after putting in the vents. I only use them when necessary but they live by my bed!

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