You normally don't notice the mucus you produce each day (almost a quart). However, if you have postnasal drip, you're probably painfully aware of secretions continuously running down your throat. The sensation causes coughing, spitting, throat clearing, hacking, and mucus expulsion 3. Allergies, infection, cervical spinal issues, and even gastric reflux (stomach contents entering the throat) cause postnasal drip 3. Getting enough rest is one treatment for sinus issues 2. But sleeping with this annoying condition is difficult.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Prop up the Bed
Mothernature.com suggests propping up the head of your bed to get the best sleep with postnasal drip. The site suggests putting books or large bricks under the bottom of the headboard 3. Once the headboard is propped up, sleep on your back 2. Side and stomach sleeping will compromise your neck. If postnasal drip is a recurring issue, check into purchasing an adjustable bed that allows you to elevate your head and/or feet.
- Mothernature.com suggests propping up the head of your bed to get the best sleep with postnasal drip.
Prop up Your Head
Breathing & Phlegm
If you cannot easily prop up your headboard, use multiple pillows behind your head. Using two or three will help mucus drain down the throat when you sleep on your back. According to Rtmagazine.com, elevating your head can alleviate sinus issues, as lying completely flat creates larger blood vessels in the nose and stimulates mouth breathing. When selecting pillows, find ones that are hypoallergenic, because an allergic reaction can worsen postnasal drip.
- If you cannot easily prop up your headboard, use multiple pillows behind your head.
- Using two or three will help mucus drain down the throat when you sleep on your back.
If you must sleep on your stomach, put a pillow under your abdomen rather than beneath your head, which will keep your neck in better alignment. Cervical issues, such as a herniated disk, can cause or intensify postnasal drip. Putting a pillow under your abdomen also keeps the body from being flat and promoting nasal inflammation 3. If it is difficult to sleep with no head pillow, find a cervical or donut pillow for stomach sleepers 2.
Breathing & Phlegm
How to Sleep When Ears are Plugged
Sinus Drainage & Stomach Problems
At Home Remedies for Clogged Sinus
Pain From Sleeping Positions
What to Take for Extreme Congestion While Pregnant
How to Get Rid of an Allergy Cough
How to Stop a Gagging Cough
My Baby Coughs & Seems to Choke on Saliva During Sleep
- Allergy Scape: Post Nasal Drip
- RT Magazine: Changing Sleep-Related Habits for Better Respiratory Health
- Highly Sensitive Body: What about Asthma, Sinusitis, and Frequent Ear Infection?
- Sylvester DC, Karkos PD, Vaughan C, et al. Chronic cough, reflux, postnasal drip syndrome, and the otolaryngologist. Int J Otolaryngol. 2012;2012:564852. doi:10.1155/2012/564852
- American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. Post-Nasal Drip.
- Mortuaire G, De gabory L, François M, et al. Rebound congestion and rhinitis medicamentosa: nasal decongestants in clinical practice. Critical review of the literature by a medical panel. Eur Ann Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Dis. 2013;130(3):137-44. doi:10.1016/j.anorl.2012.09.005
Based in Colorado Springs, Vanessa Newman writes for "Women's Edition" magazine and has been published in "Rocky Mountain Sports," "IDEA" magazine and "The Teaching Professor." She has been writing professionally for over 10 years and holds a master's degree in sports medicine. She has written online courses for companies such as Anheuser-Busch and Chevron, but prefers creative writing.