Morning Congestion and Identifying Its Root Cause


When the sun rises in the morning, a lot of people do not rise and shine with it. This can be due to wheezing, sneezing, coughing, or with a runny nose. Some of these symptoms may be accompanied by itchy eyes and a stuffy nose. This is not the best condition in which to start a new day.

If you went to bed fine the previous evening, what could have happened during the night? Should the condition recur daily, it means there is a problem that you need to rectify for your quality of life to improve. Sometimes, this problem is seasonal, meaning it tends to rear its ugly head during winter or spring.

Causes of Morning Congestion

Sleeping Position

If you lie flat on your bed, the natural flow of fluid out of your body in interfered with. During the day, mucus is drawn downward by the force of gravity to exit naturally. But the assistance that gravity provides to decongest your nasal passages is lost when you sleep in a supine position. As a result, mucus collects in your sinuses and upper respiratory passages, leading to that familiar stuffy nose.

To deal with this problem, you need to adjust your sleeping position so that your head and chest are elevated. Placing a couple of pillows to elevate your head and shoulders will prevent the mucus build up and give you a clearer head come daybreak. An added bonus is that your snoring could also decrease because of your new sleeping position.

Dry Air

When temperatures are high in your bedroom, you will be breathing in air that is drier than usual. As you sleep, the mucus in your nasal passages becomes thicker as the moisture is drawn from it by the hot, dry air. The consequence of this is a more sluggish movement as the passages drain more slowly. This draining can even stop altogether, causing the gunk to dry in your airways.

To remedy breathing in dry air the whole night, a machine known as a humidifier moistens the air to counter its drying action on the mucous membranes. This enables mucus to flow much more easily, resulting in a clear breathing. Since indoor temperature tends to be raised during winter, congestion could resolve itself once the season changes.


These are, by far, the most common cause of congestion in the morning. There are many things that can trigger an allergic reaction in the airways every time you go to sleep. Some are found in the indoor environment, particularly the bedroom. Other allergens are found outdoors. These include:

1) Pollen

Being a common trigger of cold and flu-like symptoms, this allergen is produced when flowers, grass, and other plants bloom. Various names are given to the allergic reaction to pollen such as hay fever and allergic rhinitis. Since pollen is light, it might be carried by the wind into your bedroom through an open window. It could also be carried on your outdoor clothes or hair.

To lessen the chances of pollen triggering an allergic reaction at night, wash your hair before sleeping and keep your outdoor clothing out of the bedroom.

2) The Dust Mite

This small pest leaves its dropping on mattresses, carpets, and beddings. When you sleep, you inhale these droppings, which contain powerful allergy-causing compounds. In the morning when you wake up, your congestion will be apparent.

To tackle the problem of mites, you should consider reducing dust as much as possible in your bedroom. Wash your bedding using a detergent that destroys the mite. You should also consider changing your mattress if it is heavily infested. Airing it could help as well. Replacing the carpet in your bedroom with a hard covering will leave these pests with no hiding space.

3) Mold Spores

A damp environment is conducive for mold to thrive. If your bedroom is constantly damp or if you have a child that wets their bed and the damp is not handled well, morning congestion could be your constant companion. Mold mostly appears as wet patches on the ceiling or walls.

It can be avoided by opening windows to keep moisture from building up in a room. There are also aerosol sprays that combat mold that has already appeared on your walls.

4) Pets

Pet dander can cause a strong allergic reaction in some people. If your pet comes into your bedroom, you might be congested every morning. Since this agent is too tiny to see, it is possible that the dander from the previous owners of a house to affect its current occupants.


Various solutions are possible. You should clean your pet frequently and also keep its litter box covered and away from you. An air purifier could also work for you. Since you might not want to get rid of your pet, you might decide to live with and manage your morning congestion with medication. Finally, you could consider a pet such as fish that does not produce dander.

5) Smoke

If you live with a smoker, the secondary smoke can be a powerful allergen. This is particularly true of young children who might be unable to protest. People who work in smoky environments such as employees in a nightclub might also find themselves facing a similar problem. You could request a smoker not to carry on with their business in the house. Better still, convince and assist them to quit smoking altogether.

6) Pollution

Emissions from traffic could also lead to morning congestion if you live close to a highway. If you live in a polluted environment, the only option you might have is to shift house or get an air purifier.

7) Others

Lastly, there are non-allergic causes of congestion. These triggers include strong odors, perfumes, and drug use. Since these can be controlled more easily, the best action is to remove the source of your congestion.


People are not powerless in fighting morning congestion. By keeping away from the known triggers, you will reduce the suffering that may result. Furthermore, you can always seek the intervention of experts in respiratory illness such as Dr. Samuel Becker, MD.

Also Read  Creating a Healthy Home Environment

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