Deviated Septum And Sleep Apnea: What You Need To Know?

By Kendra Reed

Updated On

If you’ve been struggling to get a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling exhausted, you’re not alone. Millions of people suffer from sleep disorders, and one common culprit is a deviated septum. This condition, where the thin wall between your nostrils is displaced to one side, can contribute to sleep apnea, a serious disorder that causes repeated pauses in breathing during sleep.

In this article, we’ll explore the connection between deviated septum and sleep apnea, and provide you with valuable information to help you breathe easier and sleep better.

Key Takeaways

  1. A deviated septum can worsen symptoms of sleep apnea, leading to poor sleep quality and daytime fatigue.
  2. Proper diagnosis and treatment of a deviated septum, such as medications or surgery, can help alleviate sleep apnea symptoms.
  3. Lifestyle changes and sleep hygiene practices can also improve sleep quality for those with a deviated septum and sleep apnea.

Symptoms Of Deviated Septum

A deviated septum can cause a range of symptoms that can impact your sleep quality and overall well-being. Some common signs of a deviated septum include:

  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Nasal congestion or stuffiness
  • Frequent sinus infections
  • Nosebleeds
  • Facial pain or headaches

These symptoms can make it harder to breathe while sleeping, leading to snoring, mouth breathing, and disrupted sleep. In some cases, a deviated septum can also contribute to the development or worsening of sleep apnea.

Diagnosis And Treatment Options

If you suspect you have a deviated septum, it’s important to seek medical advice for proper diagnosis and treatment. Your doctor may perform a physical exam, looking inside your nose for signs of deviation, or recommend imaging tests like a CT scan to get a closer look at your nasal structure.

Treatment options for a deviated septum depend on the severity of your symptoms and the extent of the deviation. In mild cases, medications like decongestants or nasal steroid sprays may help reduce inflammation and improve airflow. For more severe cases, surgery to correct the deviation, called septoplasty, may be necessary.

It’s crucial to work with your healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs. Addressing a deviated septum can not only improve your breathing and sleep quality but also help alleviate symptoms of sleep apnea.

Impact On Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious condition where you repeatedly stop and start breathing during sleep. A deviated septum can worsen sleep apnea symptoms by further restricting airflow and increasing the likelihood of blockages in the upper airway.

As per the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, “Nasal blockage, such as that resulting from a deviated septum, may exacerbate or lead to obstructive sleep apnea by raising negative pressure in the upper airway during sleep.”

Studies have shown a strong link between deviated septum and sleep apnea. One study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that patients with a deviated septum were more likely to have moderate to severe sleep apnea compared to those without a deviation.

If you have both a deviated septum and sleep apnea, treating the deviation can be an important step in managing your sleep apnea symptoms. In some cases, correcting a deviated septum may even eliminate the need for other sleep apnea treatments, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.

Lifestyle Changes For Better Sleep

In addition to seeking medical treatment for a deviated septum and sleep apnea, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to improve your sleep quality:

1. Maintain a healthy weight

Excess weight can put additional pressure on your upper airway, worsening sleep apnea symptoms. Losing weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can help reduce this pressure and improve your breathing during sleep.

2. Avoid alcohol and sedatives

These substances can relax the muscles in your throat, making it more likely for your airway to become blocked during sleep. Limit your intake of alcohol and talk to your doctor about alternatives to sedative medications if needed.

3. Practice good sleep hygiene

Establish a consistent sleep schedule, create a comfortable sleep environment, and avoid stimulating activities before bedtime to promote better sleep quality.

4. Use a humidifier

Adding moisture to the air can help reduce nasal congestion and make it easier to breathe through your nose while sleeping.

Remember, small changes in your daily habits can make a big difference in your sleep quality and overall health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes the importance of getting enough quality sleep, stating, “Sufficient sleep is increasingly being recognized as an essential aspect of chronic disease prevention and health promotion.”

Also Read: How To Relieve Tooth Pain From Sinus Pressure?


A deviated septum and sleep apnea are closely connected, with the former often contributing to or worsening the latter. By understanding this relationship and seeking appropriate medical treatment, you can take control of your sleep health and improve your overall quality of life.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of a deviated septum or sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to talk to your healthcare provider. With proper diagnosis, treatment, and lifestyle changes, you can breathe easier, sleep better, and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.


1. Can a deviated septum cause sleep apnea?

While a deviated septum does not directly cause sleep apnea, it can contribute to its development or worsen existing symptoms by restricting airflow through the nose and increasing the likelihood of upper airway blockages during sleep.

2. How do I know if I have a deviated septum?

Common symptoms of a deviated septum include difficulty breathing through the nose, nasal congestion, frequent sinus infections, nosebleeds, and facial pain or headaches. If you experience these symptoms, consult with your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis.

3. Can treating a deviated septum cure sleep apnea?

In some cases, correcting a deviated septum through surgery (septoplasty) can significantly improve sleep apnea symptoms or even eliminate the need for other treatments like CPAP therapy. However, the effectiveness of treating a deviated septum for sleep apnea varies from person to person and depends on the severity of the condition.

4. What can I do to improve my sleep with a deviated septum and sleep apnea?

In addition to seeking medical treatment for your deviated septum and sleep apnea, you can improve your sleep quality by maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding alcohol and sedatives, practicing good sleep hygiene, and using a humidifier to reduce nasal congestion. Implementing these lifestyle changes can help you breathe easier and sleep more soundly.

Kendra Reed

Dr. Kendra Reed is a dedicated general medicine physician with 7 years of clinical experience. After graduating from medical school, she completed her residency in internal medicine, developing a well-rounded skillset in diagnosing and treating a diverse range of conditions. Patients appreciate Dr. Reed's warm bedside manner and commitment to providing comprehensive, personalized care. In addition to her clinical work, she is actively involved in community outreach programs, educating the public on important health topics. Dr. Reed is known for her ability to establish trusting relationships with her patients and help them achieve their wellness goals.

View All Posts

Join the conversation