You thought your sinus infection was getting better. You’re sneezing less, your headache is almost gone, and your nose isn’t as runny. But when you got into bed to go to sleep, you began to feel awful again.
Your sinus infection does appear to be more severe at night. This isn’t an uncommon development for many people. The question is, why does your sinus infection pick bedtime to rebound?
It Does Feel as if Sinus Infection Are Worse at Night
It’s easy to feel as if you are having a setback when you lay down at night and abruptly feel awful. You’re feeling worse even though you’re relaxing? Something feels off about that. But it’s important to keep in mind that worsening symptoms at night doesn’t always mean your infection is necessarily getting worse. So the severity of symptoms isn’t always a relapse.
It should also be noted that your health depends on sleeping restfully at night. Your immune system relies on a solid eight hours of sleep each night to function properly. So when your sinus infection keeps you awake, you might indeed feel a little more miserable the next day. Figuring out why your sinusitis symptoms are getting worse might help you sleep more soundly and feel a little better as a benefit.
Why Sinus Infections Feel so Terrible When You’re Attempting to Sleep
Currently, we still don’t know for certain why sinus infections would get worse at night.
A combination of factors are most likely at work. Here are some of the more likely causes:
Changes in Your Blood Flow
A large part of the discomfort created by sinus infections is from inflammation. That’s one of the reasons why you feel so much pressure around your sinuses. Blood flow and blood pressure are closely connected to inflammation.
The theory is that when you lie down, the blood vessels in your sinuses open up a little. In most cases, this isn’t an issue, 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, consequently, be exacerbated by that inflammation.
Possible solution: Try sleeping with your head raised.
Gravity is Working Against You
Gravity does the work for you when you’re standing up and your sinuses clear easily. But when you are lying down gravity is affecting your sinuses in a different direction. It lets all the liquid in your sinuses to stay put, keep accumulating, and increase the pressure you feel. This can make you feel awful as you’re attempting to sleep for the night.
Left with nowhere else to go, the nasal drip can also go down your throat, leading to aggravation and, possibly, intensifying your infection.
Possible solutions: Again, try sleeping with your head raised or give yourself an extra pillow. You can also try an over-the-counter decongestant or sinus medication to help relieve your symptoms (and, needless to say, follow all the requisite directions for any medications you take).
You’re Not as Distracted
During the day you’re usually more lively and busier. You’re paying attention to work or something you’re watching on TV. But the intense sinus pressure or that irritating nasal drip comes to the front when you go to bed and all those distractions fade away. Now you’re noticing your symptoms so much more that it actually feels as if your infection is getting worse when it really isn’t.
Possible solution: Try using a humidifier. Making the air more humid can help alleviate some of your symptoms and the sound of the humidifier can be a mental distraction.
It’s essential to seek out medical help if your sinus infection doesn’t seem to be going away.