Why Your Cough Symptoms Get Worse at Night?

Coughing is a physiological defense reflex which serves to expel unwanted irritants or excess mucus from inside the lungs, airways or throat. It also keeps you from breathing things that may cause problem in to your lungs or airways.

Persistent nighttime coughs can be thoroughly frustrating. When coughing occurs at midnight, it can interrupt your sleep and prevent a good night’s rest. What triggers these exacerbating coughing and what can you do to avoid them?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 35 percent of Americans suffer from “poor” or only “fair” quality of sleep. If you are considered in this category it’s even more important that you get rid of your cough and get a good night’s rest.

Fortunately, there are several ways to calm coughing at night, including medication, lifestyle changes, and natural remedies. Furthermore, there are the anti-cough syrups considered as the best supplements to decrease the allergic response of the individual, soothing the pharynx, relieving the urge to cough, and modulating locally the immune system’s response.


What are the causes of nighttime coughing?

Coughing at night can be a symptom of a range of short-term and long-term conditions. These causes may disappear within a week or last longer.

The following conditions are common causes of nighttime coughing:

  1. Infection of the lungs or airways, such as common cold, the flu, pneumonia.
  2. Postnasal drip (Happens mostly when you have a cold, allergies and sinus infections)
  3. Asthma
  4. Acid reflux (GERD)
  5. Smoking cigarette
  6. COPD (Chronic bronchitis or emphysema)


10 tips to help a person reduce or ease their nighttime coughing

  1. Sleep on an incline

All the postnasal drainage and mucus you swallow during the day irritates your throat while you lie down at night. So try to pop your head up on some extra pillows to defy gravity.


  1. Take a hot shower or bath

Steam helps loosen up your stuffy nose and relieve congestion. Try breathing in the steam slowly and then cough or blow your nose to break up the mucus while you are taking a hot shower.


  1. Drink tea with honey

Any warm liquids such as, non-caffeinated hot tea with honey before bed can help loosen mucus, soothe the throat, reduce irritation and urge to cough.


  1. Try a humidifier

A humidifier can add moisture to the air to help you breathe easier. If you can’t prevent coughing at night, this method can contribute to the humidity of the room where you sleep. To prevent mold, try to control the humidity levels at 50%. Mold can be an allergen and cause even more coughing.


  1. Manage GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that causes some of the contents of the stomach to flow back up to the esophagus. It can lead to throat irritation and coughing, especially at night.

Doctors recommend lifestyle and dietary changes for most people with GERD. Avoiding foods and beverages that can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach is often recommended. These foods include chocolate, peppermint, fatty foods, coffee, and alcoholic beverages. Not eating for about 4 hours before bed may also help decrease symptoms.


  1. Gargle with warm salt water and blow your nose before bed

Salt water can ease a sore or irritated throat. Blowing your nose and sinuses can also help remove mucus from the back of the throat.

To reduce coughing, a person can mix a teaspoon of salt in about 6 ounces of warm water and gargle a few times before bed. The salt water should be spat out after gargling and not swallowed.


  1. Consider over-the-counter (OTC) treatments

Taking over-the-counter medication is supposed to control coughing when it makes it impossible to sleep.

Cough medications are usually classified as one of the following:

  • Cough Suppressants: Cough suppressants (also known as antitussives) are supposed to help control coughing by decreasing the urge to cough.
  • Expectorants: An expectorant loosen up mucus in the airways, which makes it easier to cough it up. By helping cough the mucus up, an expectorant may shorten how long a cough lasts.


  1. Stay hydrated

Keeping hydrated throughout the day by regularly sipping water, will soothe the cough reflex and also help with a sore throat


  1. Avoid allergens

If you have allergies, avoid the things you are allergic to, such as dust, animals, mold or pollen. Also stop smoking if you smoke as it is the main cause of COPD.


When to see your GP?

While coughs play an important role in helping you recover, it’s important to pay attention to the course of your illness. If your symptoms are persistent for more than two weeks, or if it’s associated with other symptoms such as shortness of breath, breathing difficulties, chest pain or fever, a persistent change in your voice, coughing up blood, unexplained weight loss or bloody phlegm, you should seek medical advice because it could be a sign of a more serious issue.


Dayonix pharma/ March 5, 2019

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional regarding any medical condition. While every care is taken to ensure the accuracy of the information presented in the blog and to describe best generally accepted current practices we cannot accept any liability for errors or omissions or for any consequences from application of the information given.

March 5, 2019