Night coughing is a common problem that disrupts your sleep quality and reduces your life comfort. Night coughing can have many different causes. Viral infections, allergies, asthma, reflux and other diseases can be the culprits behind night coughing. How to stop night coughing? How can you get rid of night coughing? What natural methods can you use to end night coughing crises? In this article, we have compiled the causes, symptoms and treatment methods of night coughing for you.
What Causes Night Coughing?
Coughing is a protective reflex that helps clear the lungs and airways of invaders, explains Liana Casusi, MD and consultant for Oh So Spotless. “It’s a reflux reaction caused by irritants like dust, smoke, pollution, or mucus, entering the body,” she says. Dry cough vs. wet cough Medically speaking, Casusi says that there is no certain way to pinpoint the cause of a cough just by describing it as dry or wet. “Also known as a productive cough, a wet cough brings out mucus, while a dry cough or nonproductive cough doesn’t,” she says. “Both types of cough can be caused by infections, structural lung disease, or airway inflammation from irritants.” Coughs can also result from viral or bacterial respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, whooping cough, and croup. These infections can cause inflammation that increases and thickens the natural mucus in the body. This extra mucus leads to coughing. Asthma and allergies can also cause coughing due to inflammation, she says. Other common causes include: taking certain medications heart failure gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) lower or upper respiratory infections lung disease damage to vocal cords sleep apnea People who smoke have a higher risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD can cause coughing due to the destruction of lung tissue.
How to Stop Night Coughing?
Coughing is a natural mechanism the body uses to remove unwanted substances in the airways. Stopping a cough when it happens will not provide a long-term solution. The main thing is to address the underlying cause. Below are 20 tips on addressing the underlying cause of coughs.
- Avoid allergens: Avoiding allergens like dust and pollen can help prevent coughing in people with allergies and sensitivities. If you’re not sure whether you have an allergy, you might consider consulting with a healthcare professional like an allergist or trying out an at-home allergy test. What is a hay fever cough like?
- Rid your home of dust: Keeping your home clear of common allergens like dust, dust mites, and pollen can help lower the risk of coughing. Tips to help keep irritants at bay include: vacuuming regularly washing curtains and linen frequently swapping carpeting and rugs for solid floors getting blinds instead of curtains
- Use air filters to allergy-proof your bedroom: Air filters can help remove allergens from the air in your bedroom. You can use a HEPA filter or an activated carbon filter to trap dust, pollen, pet dander and other particles that can trigger your cough. Change the filter regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Sleep on an incline: Prop yourself on pillows before you go to sleep, and try to sleep on more than one pillow. This will prevent all the postnasal drainage and mucus you swallow during the day from backing up in your throat when you lie down at night. You can also place wooden blocks under the head of your bed to raise it by 4 inches (10 cm). This angle will help to keep acids down in your stomach so they won’t irritate your throat. If possible, avoid sleeping on your back, as this can put strain on your breathing at night and cause you to cough.
- Have a hot shower or bath before bed: Dry airways can make your coughing worse at night. So, immerse yourself in a steamy bathroom and soak up some moisture before bed. If you have asthma, steam can make your cough worse. Do not try this remedy if you have asthma.
- Avoid sleeping under a fan or air conditioner: Cold air blowing on your face at night will only make your coughing worse. Move your bed so it is not under an air conditioner. If you keep a fan on in your room at night, move it to a spot where the air won’t blow directly over your face. Hot, dry air from a heater can also irritate your throat, so avoid sleeping under heating vents as well.
- Place a humidifier in your bedroom: Humidifiers can help keep the air moist, rather than dry, in your room. The steam opens airways and allows for better air flow. This moisture will help to keep your airways moist and make you less prone to coughing. Keep the humidity levels at 40% to 50%, as dust mites and mold thrive in damp air. To measure humidity in your bedroom, pick up a hygrometer at your local hardware store.
- Wash your bedding at least once a week: If you have a persistent night cough and are prone to allergies, keep your bedding clean. Dust mites, tiny creatures that eat dead flakes of skin, live in bedding and are a common allergy trigger. If you have an allergy or asthma you may be at risk for dust mites. Make sure to wash your sheets and try using sheet covers for the bed. Wash all your bedding, from your sheets and pillowcases to your duvet cover, in hot water once a week.
- Use a cough suppressant at night: If you don’t have any other health conditions like high blood pressure, you can try taking an over-the-counter cough suppressant. It can lessen your urge to cough as you sleep and can stop coughing at night. Take a hot shower before bed.
How to Prevent Night Coughing?
To prevent night coughing, you can take some precautions. These include:
- Don’t smoke: Smoking irritates the respiratory tract and causes coughing. Quitting smoking will reduce both your coughing and other health problems.
- Stay away from allergens: If you have an allergic constitution, try to avoid exposure to allergens. To protect yourself from allergens such as pollen, dust, animal fur, clean your home frequently, change your bed sheets, ventilate and use an air filter if necessary.
- Strengthen your immune system: To strengthen your immune system, eat healthy, exercise regularly, get enough sleep and avoid stress. Also, consume immune-friendly foods such as vitamin C, probiotics, ginger, garlic and so on.
- Use a humidifier: Dry air can irritate the respiratory tract and cause coughing. Using a humidifier can increase the humidity level of the air and relieve your throat.
Night coughing is a common problem that disrupts your sleep quality and reduces your life comfort. Night coughing can have many different causes. Viral infections, allergies, asthma, reflux and other diseases can be the culprits behind night coughing. The treatment of night coughing varies depending on the underlying cause. However, to reduce the severity of night coughing and improve your sleep quality, you can try some natural methods. Drinking plenty of fluids, using throat lozenges, drinking honey, warm water and lemon mixture, adjusting the bed and pillow position, ventilating the room and using cough syrup can end night coughing crises.
To prevent night coughing, you can also avoid smoking, stay away from allergens, strengthen your immune system and use a humidifier. We hope this article on how to cope with night coughing has been helpful for you. The cause of your night cough may be a serious illness. Therefore, if your cough lasts long or worsens, be sure to see a doctor. We wish you healthy days!