What Causes Nosebleeds While Sleeping?

Last updated: September 14th, 2023

What Causes Nosebleeds While Sleeping?

Nosebleeds or epistaxis are a common occurrence, with about 60% of people experiencing them at some point in life. Knowing the common causes of nosebleeds while sleeping is the first step to preventing them. Not only that, with the help of special nasal sprays and humidifiers, most nosebleeds can be easily stopped.

Environmental Causes of Nocturnal Nosebleeds

The environment can play a big role in nighttime nosebleeds. Dry air can make the nose irritated and dry, and make nasal blood vessels more prone to rupturing. Other common environmental triggers include allergens like dust and pet dander, as well as altitude. Those living at a mile or more above sea level are more likely to get nosebleeds at night.

Medications that can Worsen or Cause Nosebleeds at Night

Certain medications can also cause dryness in the nasal passages, leading to nosebleeds. Over-the-counter nasal sprays - such as oxymetazoline and ipratropium - should be avoided as they may break the capillaries in the nose and cause episodes of bleeding. If you’re taking any medications, make sure to stay up to date and follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for use.

How to Stop a Nosebleed at Night

If you’re experiencing a nosebleed at night, the first step is to remain calm and sit upright - it is important to remain still and keep your head upright in order to reduce the amount of blood that is flowing. Then pinch your nose directly on the bridge and apply a cold compress to the bridge of your nose for at least 10 minutes. Additionally, a topical vasoconstrictor (a type of numbing agent) may help ease discomfort. Keep your nasal passage moist by using saline sprays or humidifiers.

Tips for Preventing Nosebleeds

There are also several preventative steps that you can take to help reduce the frequency and severity of nosebleeds while sleeping. Consider sleeping on a 100 percent cotton pillowcase, as it helps to keep the interior of your nose from becoming too dry and irritated. Humidifiers, saline sprays and air filters can help decrease irritation and keep allergens at bay. Additionally, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid irritations inside the nasal cavity; soft bristles help to prevent nosebleeds.

When to Contact Your Doctor

If you experience frequent nosebleeds during the night, especially if they’re accompanied by other symptoms, contact your healthcare provider. Also contact your provider if the nosebleeds result in excessive blood loss and/or dizziness, as these can be signs of a more serious underlying condition.


Fortunately, many nosebleeds at night can be easily prevented with the help of nasal sprays, humidifiers and other environmental measures. Although most nosebleeds are mild and don’t necessitate medical attention, frequent or excessive nosebleeds should be addressed with a healthcare provider if symptoms persist.

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