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The Connection Between Sinusitis and Sleep Disorders

It is a fact that some patients have chronic Sinusitis and suffer from sleep deprivation, often associated with diminished life quality. But, the study is not objective, and there are risk factors for sleep deprivation associated with Sinusitis. This article focuses on the extensive study of breathing disorders and disturbances during sleep due to Sinusitis.

The Connection Between Sinusitis and Sleep Disorders

Sinusitis is the condition where the sinuses and nose swell up, and according to a recent European study, it stands at around 11%.(1) These main symptoms are nasal discharge, nasal obstruction, reduced sense of smell, and facial pain.(2) Chronic Sinusitis is often associated with diminished quality of life and sleep as the major complaints in most patients.

The Connection Between Sinusitis and Sleep Disorders



A couple of studies investigated sleep in Chronic Sinusitis, and only a little is known about the quality of sleep. Additionally, the significant impact of the seriousness of diseases on sleep quality is not yet investigated completely.

Around 75% of sinusitis patients have reported abnormal sleep quality, with a lack of sleep noted in those with serious sinus disease being assessed by the validated sleep and disease-specific instrument,(4) according to a recent study of 268 patients.

Additional investigations based on the larger populations and appropriate assessment of chronic Sinusitis and sleep quality require clarification on the link between the disease severity, chronic Sinusitis, and sleep quality. The larger population-based study aimed to analyze the prevailing sleep disorders in people with Sinusitis.

Can the Sinus Cause A Lack Of Sleep?

We all understand that the issues and symptoms of Sinus lead to discomfort; however, they even lead to a lack of sleep or serious insomnia. The nasal congestion mainly associated with a runny or stuffy nose due to the greater mucus production is caused due to varied sinus issues, including enlarged turbinates, nasal polyps, and deviated septum.

Laying down flat and sleeping naturally would relax the muscles in your throat, causing the mucus to pool within the nasal cavities, leading to congestion, coughing, trouble breathing, snoring, and severe sleep apnea.

The irritation within the sinus airways becomes an affected infection and is mainly coined as Sinusitis. It is mainly caused and worsened by the swelling of the nasal air passages leading to greater pressure or pain around the areas of your cheeks, nose, and forehead. These are the main symptoms of sinus issues and swellings that would make your restful night’s sleep almost impossible.

Why Get A Diagnosis of Sinusitis and Sleep Apnea?

Whenever the cavities of the Sinus fail to drain, it leads to chronic Sinusitis or even recurrent. It is the indication of the underlying issues, which is anatomical. The same problem would cause your airways to become completely or partially blocked as you sleep, leading to sleep apnea.

There are cases where Sinusitis is caused due to a common cold or allergies, nasal sprays, and medications that can potentially treat this issue.

But, if anatomical issues are the main cause behind the symptoms, conservative treatments like medications will hardly offer any relief. A few common anatomical issues include the deviated septum, nasal polyps,(6) or narrow or blocked sinus openings.

If the root of your symptoms is the anatomical issue, then a smaller invasive process would correct the underlying issues, thereby resolving the symptoms. It would offer substantial relief while reducing your chances of developing long-term chronic health issues linked with sleep apnea or disorders, high blood pressure, and heart diseases.

Risk Factors For Sleep Disorders With Sinusitis

Three studies examine the link between varied disease-related and demographic factors and lack of sleep to identify the risk factors for developing sleep deprivation in chronic Sinusitis.

It is found that the lack of sleep quality is distinctively linked with tobacco use.(7) The major risk factor of tobacco is sleep disruption in the general population.(8)

The larger prospective study for 572 adult patients with CRS found that the seriousness of several CRS-related symptoms was distinctively correlated with sleep impairment.

These symptoms included anterior nasal drainage, nasal obstruction, headache, facial pressure or pain, and cough.(9)

Identically, there is a strong link between daytime sleepiness and nasal blockage.

It is also found that there is a significant correlation between the SNOT-22 scores and daytime sleepiness.(10) SNOT-22 is validated by the standard test comprising 22 questions that covers the 5 main domains like an ear or facial symptoms, extra nasal, and sleep dysfunction.(11)

The real correlations between daytime sleepiness or sleep dysfunction and SNOT-22 scores are briefly explained through the fact that five questions in the SNOT-22 are designed to capture the dysfunction of sleep.

But, based on this fact, the nasal symptoms of chronic Sinusitis are positively correlated with dysfunctions in sleep.(12) Through these findings, it is good to infer that chronic sinusitis patients with higher SNOT-22 scores should screen for sleep dysfunction more carefully.

In chronic Sinusitis, neither the CT scans nor the endoscopic scores are linked with sleep apnea. The lack of a link between the endoscopic scores and sleep dysfunction or LMK, mainly in the context of the distinctive link of sleep with the symptom scores, is controversial and involves greater investigation.

It is found that Sinusitis is the major predictor of the rise of risk towards sleep impairment which is linked with sleep disorders.(13) According to population-based studies, there are people with rhinitis symptoms and those with reported environmental allergies who are almost 1.8 times more likely to have moderate to severe sleep-disordered breathing.(14)

Patients suffering from moderate to serious disease are at risk for distinctive sleep disturbance.(15) Consequently, it is specifically essential for screening for sleep disorders in patients suffering from chronic Sinusitis.

Sinus Induced Insomnia

Issues with allergies and Sinus would lead to a lack of sleep, seriously affecting an individual’s life during the day. The body will fail to recuperate or recharge without restful sleep during the night.

Having sleeping issues or insomnia for an extended time would adversely affect all things in your daily life ranging from your motivation and energy to your physical and mental health with the short term is not always the issue here.

Your body normally depends on the time it is shutting down for converting the calories into energy, refreshing the brain. Sinusitis or allergies will get in the way of proper sleep, and you can wind up feeling stressed, foggy, flustered, and exhausted. It is tough to get things done and enjoy your normal activities since your mind fails to process at its full capacity.

You might fail to understand the lack of quality sleep, which is the main reason for tension or stress building up in your body and life. Being stressed or tense as an outcome of the lack of sleep would lead to serious health-related risks such as high blood pressure.

Dealing With Sinus Issues To Sleep Properly

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

Adjusting to the specific attributes of your night routine will help to eradicate the symptoms that make it harder to sleep. It is essential to avoid caffeine and alcohol before heading out to bed. Alcohol might appear to be a good idea to aid you in sleeping. However, wine and alcohol specifically would make you congested, contributing to your sinus pressure or pain.

Some experts recommend cutting off before 2 pm if you face trouble sleeping as caffeine will lead to dehydration, which aggravates the throat and sinuses to worsen the symptoms.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Every patient is different, and the ideal way to treat sinus issues causes sleeping issues that depend on the seriousness and the type of the issue. A couple of non-surgical options are used for distinctive nasal problems, including topical steroids and nasal saline irrigation.

These treatments focus more on the smaller sinus issues or when the issue escalates to infections or Sinusitis. The combination of the treatments is found to become more effective.

Surgical Treatments

Whenever sinus infections or issues become a problematic part of your life’s consistencies, the doctor might wish to consider the surgical procedure to help you eliminate the more permanent sinus issues. The balloon sinuplasty widens the sinus airways to make the blockages less likely and aid in the free flow of air through these nasal passages.

Patients are completing the balloon sinuplasty, where there have been sinus issues for years. After this process, the report mainly decreases sinus infections, less fatigue, and better sleep, among the other positive outcomes.

Sleep Apnea Treatments

Sinus issues aggravate sleep apnea, a condition where the throat muscles relax during sleep, causing the airways to become blocked. It happens almost frequently when breathing through the mouth, which is why it becomes stuffy, or the nose might swell.

Final Notes

Finally, there are sinus-related issues that, combined with sleep apnea, would get in the way of your peaceful sleep. We wish you get the proper rest to stay motivated, well-rested, and free from daytime fatigue. However, if you still think you cannot overcome this problem, then it is better to consult with your doctor.


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  3. Birch DS Saleh HA Wodehouse T Simpson IN Mackay IS. Assessing the quality of life for patients with chronic rhinosinusitis using the Rhinosinusitis Disability Index. Rhinology. 2001; 39(4): 191–196.
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  6. https://www.houstonsinussurgery.com/services/nasal-polyps
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  12. Ando Y, Chiba S, Capasso R, et al. Risk factors for sleep impairment in adult patients with chronic rhinosinusitis. Auris Nasus Larynx. 2016;43(4):418–421.
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  14. Young T, Finn L, Kim H. Nasal obstruction as a risk factor for sleep-disordered breathing. The University of Wisconsin Sleep and Respiratory Research Group. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1997;99(2):S757–62
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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 27, 2023

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