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Sleep is an essential component of our overall health and well-being. However, many people suffer from sleep-related issues, one of which can be caused by a deviated septum. Read on as we discuss the effects of a deviated septum on sleep quality, its causes, diagnosis, and treatment options. We will also provide some tips on how to improve your sleep quality if you have a deviated septum.
What is a Deviated Septum?
Your nasal septum is the thin wall of bone and cartilage that separates your nostrils. A deviated septum occurs when this wall is shifted or crooked, making one nasal passage narrower than the other. This condition can be present at birth or result from injury or trauma to the nose.
Symptoms of a Deviated Septum
A deviated septum may cause various symptoms, including:-
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Nasal congestion (usually more severe on one side)
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Sinus infections
- Facial pain
But how does a deviated septum affect your sleep? Let’s find out!
How a Deviated Septum Affects Sleep
A deviated septum can lead to sleep issues by obstructing airflow through the nasal passages. This can result in several sleep-related problems, such as:-
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition where the airway becomes partially or entirely blocked during sleep, causing breathing to stop and start repeatedly. A deviated septum can contribute to this blockage, increasing the risk of OSA.
Snoring is caused by the vibration of respiratory structures when the airflow is obstructed during sleep. A deviated septum can narrow the airway, leading to increased snoring.
Nasal congestion is a common symptom of a deviated septum. It can become worse during sleep, as lying down may cause mucus to accumulate in the nasal passages, making it difficult to breathe through the nose.
Treatment Options for Sleep Issues Caused by Deviated Septum
Luckily, there are several treatment options available for sleep issues caused by a deviated septum. These can be divided into two categories – lifestyle changes and medical interventions.
Changing your sleep position might help alleviate sleep issues caused by a deviated septum. Try sleeping on your side, preferably the side opposite the narrower nasal passage, to reduce nasal congestion and improve airflow.
Using a humidifier in your bedroom can help moisten the air and reduce nasal congestion, making it easier to breathe during sleep. Just be sure to clean it regularly to prevent mould and bacteria growth.
Nasal Sprays and Decongestants
Over-the-counter nasal sprays and decongestants can help relieve nasal congestion caused by a deviated septum. However, it’s essential to use these products as directed and not overuse them, as this can lead to a rebound effect, making congestion worse.
For individuals with sleep apnea, an oral appliance may be beneficial. These devices are custom-made to fit your mouth and work by keeping the airway open during sleep, reducing the risk of sleep apnea episodes. Consult a dentist or sleep specialist to determine if an oral appliance is suitable for you.
In some cases, surgery may be recommended to correct a deviated septum. The most common procedure is septoplasty, where the surgeon straightens the septum, improving airflow through the nasal passages. This can help alleviate sleep issues related to the deviated septum.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can a deviated septum cause sleep issues for everyone?
A. Not everyone with a deviated septum will experience sleep issues. The severity of the deviation and the presence of other factors, such as allergies or sinus infections, can influence the impact on sleep.
Q. How do I know if I have a deviated septum?
A. A healthcare professional, such as an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist, can diagnose a deviated septum through a physical examination and sometimes imaging tests.
Q. Can a deviated septum worsen over time?
A. A deviated septum can worsen over time due to factors such as ageing, injuries, or chronic inflammation caused by allergies or sinus infections.
Q. Is surgery always necessary to correct a deviated septum?
A. Surgery is not always necessary. In many cases, lifestyle changes and medical interventions can help manage sleep issues related to a deviated septum. Surgery may be recommended if these treatments are not effective or if the deviation is severe.
Q. How long does it take to recover from septoplasty?
A. Recovery from septoplasty varies from person to person. Generally, most people can return to work or regular activities within a week or two. However, complete healing may take several weeks to a few months.
A deviated septum can indeed cause sleep issues by obstructing airflow and leading to sleep apnea, snoring, and nasal congestion. Fortunately, several treatment options can help improve sleep quality, ranging from lifestyle changes to medical interventions. If you suspect your sleep problems are related to a deviated septum, consult a healthcare professional to discuss your symptoms and explore suitable treatment options.