Coughing at night can be irritating to a partner and also keep you awake. Some nocturnal coughs are signs of other respiratory problems such as colds, bronchitis, whooping cough or pneumonia. If your cough does not improve in a week, see a doctor. Most of them are due to allergies or nasal congestion and can be treated with the right medications.
Method 1 of 3: Adjusting Sleep Habits
Step 1. Sleep with your torso elevated
Use more than one pillow raised at the head of the bed and sleep almost in a sitting position. This will prevent the runny nose and nasal mucus swallowed throughout the day from returning to the throat at night.
- You can also use wooden blocks or books to lift the pillows a few inches. This angle will help keep the acids in your stomach so they don't irritate your throat.
- Avoid sleeping on your back as this can force your breath and make you cough.
Step 2. Take a hot shower before bed
Dry airways can make night cough worse. Get in hot water and hydrate yourself before going to bed.
Steam can make your cough worse if you have asthma. Do not try this method if that is your case
Step 3. Avoid sleeping with a fan, heater or air conditioner
Taking cold wind in the face at night only makes the cough worse. Move the bed so that it is not directly under the air conditioner or heater; in the case of a fan, place it elsewhere in the room, away from the bed.
Step 4. Use a room humidifier in the bedroom
This appliance can help keep the air moist in your sleeping environment. Moisture hydrates the airways and makes them less susceptible to coughing.
Keep humidity levels between 40% and 50% as dust mites and mold multiply in damp places. To measure room humidity, buy a hygrometer online or at building materials houses
Step 5. Wash bedding once a week
Keep your bedding clean if you have allergies or persistent coughs. Mites and other microscopic creatures that feed on dead skin live in the sheets and often trigger allergic processes.
- Wash all bedding items (sheets, blankets, pillowcases, everything) once a week in hot water.
- You can also wrap the mattress in plastic to keep dust mites away and keep the bed clean
Step 6. Have a glass of water on the nightstand
So, if you wake up with a cough during the night, you can clear your throat with a good drink of water.
Step 7. Try to breathe only through your nose when you are sleeping
Before going to bed, think about the proverb "The nose is for breathing, the mouth is for eating." Condition yourself to breathe through your nose during sleep through multiple nasal inhalation sessions. This will relieve stress in the throat and reduce nighttime coughing.
- Sit upright in a comfortable position.
- Relax your upper body and close your mouth. Rest your tongue behind your lower teeth, away from the roof of your mouth.
- Place your hands on the diaphragm at your lower belly. Try to breathe through your diaphragm and not your chest. This is important because it helps the lungs exchange gases and massages the liver, stomach and intestines, expelling toxins from these organs; it's also good for relaxing the upper body.
- Breathe in deeply for two or three seconds.
- Exhale through your nose for three or four seconds. Stop for two or three seconds and inhale again through your nose.
- Practice breathing this way several times. Increasing your in-breath and out-breath will help your body get used to breathing through your nose instead of your mouth.
Method 2 of 3: Using Industrialized Remedies
Step 1. Buy a syrup
Syrups help in two ways:
- Expectorants, such as Mucosolvan, help to loosen mucus and phlegm from the throat and airways.
- Antitussives, such as dextromethorphan, block the cough reflex in the nervous system and reduce this symptom.
- You can also drink more basic syrups like Melagrian, or rub Vick's Vapor Rub on your chest before bed. Both help reduce nighttime coughing.
- Read the medicine package insert before taking it. Ask your pharmacist if you are not sure which type of syrup is best for you.
Step 2. Suck on throat lozenges
Some lozenges have anesthetic ingredients like benzocaine, which help to calm a cough and get you to sleep.
Step 3. Talk to a doctor if the cough doesn't go away in seven days
If it gets worse after treatments and medication and lasts for more than seven days, go to the doctor. A nighttime cough can be a symptom of other illnesses such as colds, flu, bronchitis, whooping cough and pneumonia. If there was a high fever and a chronic cough at night, go to the doctor as soon as possible.
- Depending on the diagnosis, the doctor may prescribe a decongestant or more serious treatment; if you already have a more serious condition such as asthma, talk about specific medications to treat this symptom.
- Some coughs, especially persistent and chronic ones, can be a symptom of a more serious illness, such as heart disease and lung cancer. However, these illnesses often have other marked symptoms, such as coughing up blood or a history of heart disease.
Method 3 of 3: Using Natural Remedies
Step 1. Take a tablespoon of honey before bed
Honey is an amazing natural remedy for sore throat as it hydrates and protects the mucous membranes. It also has antiseptic properties thanks to enzymes added by bees. So if your cough is bacterial, honey can help you fight it.
- Take a tablespoon of organic honey one to three times a day and before bed. You can also dissolve this honey in a cup of hot water and lemon and drink it before bed.
- For children, give a teaspoon of honey three times a day and before bed.
- You should not give honey to children under the age of two because of the risk of botulism, a bacterial infection.
Step 2. Drink licorice tea
Licorice is a natural decongestant that relieves the airways and loosens mucus in the throat, helping to fight inflammation.
- Look for it in health food stores or in the supermarket's breakfast aisle.
- Soak the licorice or sachet in hot water for ten to fifteen minutes, or follow the directions on the package. Cover the tea to trap the steam and let it settle. Drink tea once or twice a day and before bed too.
- Do not consume licorice if you are taking steroids or have kidney problems.
Step 3. Gargle with water and salt
Salt water can improve throat discomfort and release mucus; this will help clear phlegm from your throat if you have a cough and nasal congestion.
- Mix a scoop of salt in 240ml of hot water until it dissolves.
- Gargle for fifteen seconds, being careful not to swallow.
- Spit the water into the sink and make another gargle with the rest of the water.
- Rinse your mouth with clean water when finished.
Step 4. Vaporize with water and natural essences
Steam is a great way to absorb moisture through the nasal cavities and prevent dry coughing. Adding essences such as eucalyptus promotes an antiviral, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory action.
- Boil enough water to fill a medium pot. Put the water in and let it cool for about a minute.
- Put three drops of tea tree essence and two drops of eucalyptus essence in the bowl of water. Stir lightly to release vapors.
- Tilt your head over the bowl and get as close as you can. Don't get so close that the steam burns your face. Use a towel to cover your head, like a hut, to trap the steam near your face. Breathe deeply for five to ten minutes. Try doing this sauna two or three times a day.
- It is also possible to rub essential oils on the chest to prevent nighttime coughing. Always mix oils in organic olive oil before applying to the skin, as they are very strong and can even cause burns - never apply essences directly to the skin. This works just as well as using Vick's Vapor Rub, but it has no petrochemical ingredients and is 100% natural. For children under the age of ten, read the essence label for warnings and safety and recommendations.