Sinusitis and Snoring

Snoring is one of those terribly annoying habits that seems normal and common but can really be an indication of a much more serious and problematic sleep breathing disorder. People who make snoring noises do so because their breathing passages are blocked during sleep. Airways that are narrowed or inflamed make it difficult for air to come through, causing vibration which results in loud breathing during sleep.

Your nose works to warm, moisten, and filter the air that you breathe when you inhale. When your nasal passages are stuffed up for any reason, the body automatically reverts to breathing through the mouth in order to get enough oxygen. This tendency happens particularly at night when people are unaware of the fact that they are breathing through their mouths. Mouth breathing is a common cause of snoring as much more resistance to breathing comes through the mouth than when breathing through the nose. Also, the tongue and jaw can be affected by gravity and cause airways to be restricted or even fully blocked.

Can Sinus Problems Cause Snoring?

While many people struggle with congestion and nasal stuffiness may struggle to breathe during the day, night breathing can be even more difficult. If you are a person who has sinus problems, then your snoring may very well be related to sinusitis or other sinus issues. Sinus problems that can cause snoring include:

  • Sinusitis or other infections of the nasal cavities
  • Nasal congestion and drainage due to seasonal allergies or cold
  • Chronically swollen or oversized turbinates (the walls on the inside of the nostrils)
  • Obstructed nasal cavities related to deviated septum or other structural problem

Any type of sinus problems can cause snoring, including a chronic infection of the sinus cavities (called sinusitis). This infection of the sinus cavities produces inflammation, mucus build up, headache pain, facial pain, and bad breath (halitosis). This interference with breathing through the nose causes mouth breathing which eventually results in snoring.

Remedies for Snoring Caused by Sinus Problems

If you snore and have trouble breathing through your nose due to recurrent sinus infections or other problems, it is recommended for you to see a medical professional to rule out more serious health problems with severe consequences. Many times, snoring related to sinus problems can be treated with over-the-counter medicine or other non-invasive treatments.


Sometimes a simple over-the-counter decongestant medicine can help with temporary snoring related to sinus problems, seasonal allergies, or sinusitis. A decongestant (such as pseudoephedrine hydrochloride) may be effective in reducing inflammation in the sinus cavities which can help restore sleep breathing and minimize snoring. Taking a decongestant may work for short-term snoring problems but is not an ideal solution for long-term use for habitual or chronic snoring.

Allergy Medications

Similar to the use of decongestants, over-the-counter allergy medications may effectively reduce snoring by providing reduce inflammation, stuffiness and mucus production in the nose. If snoring and sinus problems are caused by seasonal allergies related to pollen or hay fever, an allergy medication may be the best and least invasive short-term solution. Other allergies that should be considered may be dust and pet dander in your home, mold or mildew growing in moist places, or even allergies to certain chemicals in personal care products such as perfumes or fragrances in household or personal care items.

Nasal Spray

Some people find that moisturizing the nasal passages can help to promote clear breathing through the nose. Saline nasal sprays may help to reduce inflammation in the nose, which reduces mouth breathing and therefore minimizes the tendency for snoring in a person with sinus problems or sinusitis.

Neti Pot

This natural remedy for sinus problems is an effective way to clear out the nasal and sinus passages, especially for people who suffer from chronic sinus infections or inflammation. A neti pot allows the user to pass warm salt water through the nose, clearing the nasal passages. This is not only useful for reducing inflammation and swelling of the tissues in the sinus cavities, but also can reduce the tendency for infection by flushing out any bacteria or germs that may be present.

Adhesive Nasal Strips

If your sinus problems cause congestion and limit your ability to breathe through your nose, consider the use of adhesive nasal strips. This non-invasive treatment option is placed on the outside of the nose to lift and open up the breathing passages. For some people, this little boost in nasal cavity space is enough to allow clear sleep breathing and stop snoring altogether. Another option may be the use of rubber cones that are designed to be placed inside the nostrils in order to promote healthier breathing and reduce the tendency to snore.


People who have full-fledged sinus infections should certainly speak to a medical professional about the need for using antibiotics to fight the infection allow the body to get back to normal health. Antibiotics are not recommended for use on a regular basis and should be used sparingly as they can have negative side effects.

Surgical Repair for Deviated Septum

People who have a deviated septum or other structural problem that causes blockage in their nasal passages may require surgical intervention in order to stop snoring. The septum is the cartilage that sits between the two nostrils. If the septum has been damaged due to an injury, or has been structurally uneven since birth, this can cause severe problems with nasal breathing which leads to mouth breathing and snoring. It can also cause a tendency to have chronic sinus infections and sinusitis. An Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor can help you determine if you have a deviated septum and if surgery is necessary to restore proper sleep breathing.


Snoring and sinus problems seem to go hand in hand for many people. The good news is that this type of snoring is a secondary symptom that can almost always be relieved when the primary health issue is treated appropriately. Talk to your doctor about getting a diagnosis and help with treating your sinusitis or other sinus problems, and you’re likely to be breathing well during your sleep in no time!

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