Nasal Polyps and Sleep Apnea: What’s Behind the Link?

Treating your nasal polyps may reduce your risk of sleep apnea.

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If you have nasal polyps, you might feel like you can tough it out and be fine. You may not even realize you have nasal polyps, since they can mimic sinus infections or bad colds. However, without treatment, polyps can affect your quality of life. Nasal polyps may even affect your sleep by increasing your risk of obstructive sleep apnea.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder. The word apnea comes from the Greek word for “breathless.” That’s because sleep apnea causes your breathing to pause from time to time while you sleep. As a result, you may gasp yourself awake many times during the night. This may hurt your quality of sleep, and you may feel tired during the daytime.

There are two types of sleep apnea:

  • Central sleep apnea means the body isn’t receiving the message to breathe.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea means something is physically blocking the airways, causing pauses in breathing.

Learn more about what sleep apnea is here.

Nasal Polyps and Sleep Apnea

If you have large nasal polyps, they may block your airways. This may result in obstructive sleep apnea.

Signs you may have sleep apnea include:

  • Feeling very tired during the day
  • Other signs of lack of sleep, such as irritability or difficulty thinking or focusing
  • Loud snoring
  • Sudden gasps or snorts during the night
  • Dry mouth in the morning

In many cases, you may not notice some of the symptoms yourself. If you share a bed with someone, they may tell you that you snore loudly or gasp a lot. This is a good sign that you should visit your doctor.

Sleep apnea is treatable, and so are nasal polyps. In fact, treating your polyps may help you get better sleep at night. Learn more about treatment for nasal polyps here.