Clogged Nose Bothering You? Causes and Remedies

Written by: Ed Salazar



Time to read 4 min


Do you find yourself struggling to breathe freely due to a persistent clogged nose? You're not alone. According to a recent study mentioned by USA Today, 1 in 4 Americans suffer from a clogged nose (otherwise known as nasal congestion) every single day. Nasal congestion can be frustrating, affecting your quality of life and disrupting your sleep. In this quick guide, we'll explore the common causes of a clogged nose and provide effective remedies to help you find relief and breathe easier.

Understanding the Causes of a Clogged Nose

Allergies: Allergies are a common culprit behind nasal congestion. When you come into contact with allergens such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, or mold, your immune system may overreact, leading to inflammation and swelling in the nasal passages. This inflammation can cause congestion, sneezing, itching, and other uncomfortable symptoms.

Sinus Infections: Sinus infections, also known as sinusitis, occur when the sinuses become inflamed or infected. This inflammation can block the nasal passages, causing congestion, facial pain or pressure, and nasal discharge. Sinus infections can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, or allergies.

Deviated Septum: The nasal septum is the thin wall of cartilage and bone that divides the nasal cavity into two nostrils. A deviated septum occurs when the septum is crooked or shifted to one side, obstructing airflow through one or both nostrils. This obstruction can lead to chronic nasal congestion and difficulty breathing.

Environmental Factors: Environmental factors such as dry air, pollution, smoke, strong odors, and changes in weather can irritate the nasal passages and trigger congestion. Dry air, in particular, can dry out the nasal membranes, leading to congestion and discomfort.

3d image of woman breathing through clogged nose

Effective Remedies for Relieving a Clogged Nose

Woman getting relief from a clogged nose using humidity

Nasal Saline Rinse: Nasal saline rinses, also known as nasal irrigation or nasal douche, involve flushing out the nasal passages with a saline solution. This helps thin mucus, clear nasal congestion, and remove irritants and allergens from the nose.

Steam Inhalation: Steam inhalation involves inhaling steam from hot water to help moisturize and soothe the nasal passages. The warm, moist air can help loosen mucus and relieve a clogged nose. Adding essential oils such as eucalyptus or peppermint to the steam can enhance its decongestant properties.

Over-the-Counter Decongestants: Over-the-counter (OTC) nasal decongestants are available in the form of nasal sprays or oral medications. These medications work by constricting blood vessels in the nasal passages, reducing swelling and congestion. However, they should be used sparingly and according to the package instructions to avoid rebound congestion and other side effects.

Nasal Dilators: Nasal dilators are devices designed to gently open the nasal passages, allowing for improved airflow and reduced congestion. According to a study observed by the NIH, they can even alleviate a clogged nose completely (Singh, et al., 2019). The award winning Airflow Clip nasal dilator, for example, fits comfortably inside the nostrils and helps keep them open during sleep, promoting better breathing and reducing snoring. Its discreet design makes it ideal for use at night without causing discomfort.

Man using Airflow Clip Nasal Dilator

Lifestyle Changes to Prevent a Clogged Nose

Maintain Humidity: Using a humidifier in your home can help keep the air moist, preventing nasal dryness and congestion. Adding moisture to the air can also help thin mucus and soothe irritated nasal passages.

Avoid Allergens: Identify and avoid allergens that trigger nasal congestion, such as pollen, dust, pet dander, mold, and smoke. Take steps to reduce your exposure to these allergens, such as using allergen-proof bedding, keeping pets out of the bedroom, and using air purifiers.

Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help thin mucus and keep the nasal passages moist. Proper hydration is essential for overall respiratory health and can help prevent nasal congestion. The Mayo Clinic recommends roughly 15.5 cups of water a day for men, and 11.5 cups of water for women (Mayo Clinic, n.d.).

Elevate Your Head: Sleeping with your head slightly elevated can help reduce nasal congestion, especially at night. Prop up your head with an extra pillow or use a bed wedge to elevate your upper body, allowing for better drainage of mucus and easier breathing.

Woman avoiding clogged nose by drinking water


Dealing with a clogged nose can be uncomfortable and disruptive, but with the right understanding and remedies, you can find relief and breathe easier. Whether you're combating allergies, sinus infections, or environmental irritants, there are plenty of options available to help you overcome nasal congestion. From nasal saline rinses and steam inhalation to over-the-counter decongestants and nasal dilators like the Airflow Clip, there's a solution out there to suit your needs. Incorporating lifestyle changes such as maintaining humidity, avoiding allergens, staying hydrated, and elevating your head while sleeping can also help prevent nasal congestion and promote better respiratory health. Say goodbye to nasal congestion and hello to better breathing with these effective remedies and lifestyle changes.

Editorial Team:

Ed Salazar Sleep Consultant and CEO

Ed Salazar

With over 20 years of experience in healthcare, Ed Salazar is a trusted sleep consultant and esteemed writer for the Good Night Blog. His medically-reviewed work and profound expertise make him a go-to resource for achieving quality sleep. Let Ed Salazar guide you on a transformative journey to restful nights and rejuvenation. 

Andres Salazar MD CMD

Andres Salazar, M.D.

Meet Dr. Andres Salazar, a board-certified Family Physician, Geriatrician, and certified Medical Director, leading a dedicated team of sleep consultants. Dr. Salazar and his team are deeply committed to your well-being and stay at the forefront of sleep science research. Their mission is to empower you to achieve your best self through enhanced sleep quality.


Mayo Clinic Staff. (n.d.). Water: How much should you drink every day? Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from,fluids%20a%20day%20for%20women

Singh, A., Kumar, A., Kaur, H., De, S., Gautam, P., Yadav, M., & Kumar, A. (2019). Isotretinoin: A Review on the First Twenty Years. Indian Journal of Dermatology, 64(2), 103–110.

USA Today. (2022, November 10). Stuffy nose, nasal congestion in the morning? Here's how to fix it. USA Today.