Sleeping and your breathing – the impact of a blocked nose
Is your nose getting the way of a good night’s sleep? It might surprise you to read that there are a few reasons that your sleep is interrupted, and that the main culprit is your nose!
The nose is not just a small piece of flesh and cartilage on the front of the face, but is instead a relatively complex series of channels that are meant to help with breathing. For example, there are areas of the nose designed specifically to moisten and heat the air as it enters the body. There are areas meant to filter out dust and debris. There are also the areas meant to help with the draining of the sinuses. And any one of these regions can develop problems that impair breathing and disrupt sleep.
- Deviated Septum – the septum is the cartilage that divides the two nasal passages and if there is any part of this “structure” that is out of alignment it can cause difficulty with breathing, and can most certainly lead to sleep disturbances;
- Nasal Turbinates – inside of the nose are small structures made of cartilage that are in place to moisturize and purify air that heads through the nose and into the lungs. If they swell and impede the airways inside of the nose, this too is going to cause problems with sleeping.
What is interesting is that those with deviated septums are actually quite likely to also end up with problems with their nasal turbinates. This is why combination surgeries are a frequent tactic used to alleviate the issues and to help someone get a regular night’s sleep.
The surgeries are known, respectively, as septoplasty or turbinate reduction. The septoplasty removes the cartilage that is misshapen and allows the channels inside of the nose to be much freer and more open. The same applies to turbinate reduction, which also takes away the excess or swollen mucous membranes in order to prevent them from further blocking the passage of air.
So, yes, these procedures are a form of surgery, but they are known as “local” procedures because you are only mildly sedated when the work is done. The recovery time is minimal, but there is a period in which you have to allow yourself to heal before doing things that might be considered “high impact”. For example, running or playing aggressive sports are definitely out of the question.
Who Can Help
An “ear nose and throat” specialist, or ENT, is the person who will handle this sort of procedure. Though many people actually discover that their nose is what is ruining their sleep when they first head to a regular or general practitioner.
It is important to remember that not all conditions are the same in terms of their seriousness. You may hear from a friend or family member that a deviated septum is not a big deal, or that they had the same sort of issue and it was remedied without a lot of difficulty. This may or may not be the case, but it is only your experienced ENT who can tell you of the severity of your condition.
Whether you have only one or both issues with your nose, and whether you get good or bad sleep because of it, you do want to address any problems with the inner structures of the nose. They are only going to worsen over time and living with a chronic sense of congestion or with difficulty sleeping and breathing is not something to dismiss or to treat lightly. Your ENT Clinic is a great solution to an annoying and disruptive condition.
If you have concerns about sleeping and your breathing contact your local doctor who will arrange for you to see an ear nose throat specialist.