Approximately 30 million doctor’s visits are made every year to treat coughing. Coughing is a symptom of both the common cold and the flu, so it’s possible that many individuals have it without seeking medical attention. It’s common for a cough to keep you awake at night. But there are things you can do to help yourself sleep better so it’s all good.
Why Do I Cough More at Night When I’m Sick?
Coughing at night, often known as a nocturnal cough, can occur for a variety of causes. The purpose of a cough is to clear the airways, voice box and lungs of mucus and other potentially harmful particles. Regardless of the time of day or night, coughing serves the same purpose.
When you’re unwell, postnasal drip can cause a worsening of your cough at night. Instead of coming out the nose, these secretions travel down one’s throat. This is known as postnasal drip, or postnasal drip syndrome. In addition to colds and the flu, allergies and sinus infections are all common causes of this symptom. You may be coughing more frequently at night because you’re sleeping on your back, which might increase postnasal drip.
At night, a persistent cough might make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. It is likely that your problem will be remedied if you can get rid of the cough If your cough just won’t go away, there are a few things you can do to help yourself sleep better at night, like keeping your breathing passages moist, elevating your head, and creating a conducive sleeping environment.
Can You Sleep Off a Cold?
There is no known cure for the common cold, but getting lots of rest is the best way to speed your recovery. A good night’s sleep is generally good for your health, as sleep and the immune system are linked. Sleep has been shown to have a positive influence on the body’s hormones and the inflammatory response, according to studies.
Avoiding the common cold may be as simple as getting enough sleep before being ill. Sleeping for at least seven hours a night is recommended for healthy adults.
More persons with the common cold develop symptoms when they are sleep-deprived for a week before being exposed to the virus than those who get enough sleep. More than twice as many people who sleep less than five hours each night become symptomatic than those who sleep more than seven hours per night, according to research. Nearly three times as many people get a cold when they sleep less than seven hours each night as those who sleep at least eight.
How Does a Cold Affect Your Sleep?
More than 40% of people say that sleeping more than usual helps them deal with a cold, however when you have a cold, it is normal to have problems sleeping. It has been found that 46 percent of people have difficulty getting a good night’s sleep when they have a cold or the flu. Additionally, 94 percent of those polled said that their symptoms woke them up at night when they were unwell with a cold or flu.
When you have a cold, a cough is the most common symptom that will keep you up at night, but you should also be aware of other symptoms including body aches, sore throat, runny nose, and the urge to sneeze. Fever dreams are common in those who are sick with a fever. Unusual and depressing dreams might sometimes make it tough to sleep while you’re sick.
How to Sleep With a Cough or Cold
Some practices can help you get a better night’s sleep as you recover from your illness, even if your symptoms don’t go away overnight. In the event that your cough is exacerbated by a condition such as asthma or seasonal allergies, you may need to address these problems as well in order to alleviate the cough.
Hydrating Your Breathing Passages
1. Drink water during the day to stay hydrated at night.
As a result, coughing is more frequent and/or more intense when the airways are dry. Keeping your throat and nasal tissues wet at night is made easier by drinking water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated.
- If you’re suffering from a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, it’s especially important to stay hydrated.
- To avoid having to get out of bed to use the restroom, drink small amounts of water throughout the day rather than a big one or two glasses just before bed.
- Take a sip of warm or hot water to help rehydrate your body and loosen up the mucus in your lungs so that you can get better more quickly.
2. Take a steamy shower or bath to wind down at the end of the day.
Steam aids in the relief of irritated tissues as well as the opening and moisturizing of the respiratory tract. As a result, you’ll sleep better at night and have fewer coughing fits.
- Taking a warm bath or shower before going to bed might help you relax and get ready for sleep. To help your body know it’s time to sleep, incorporate it into your nighttime routine. The problem with steam is that it might worsen an asthmatic’s cough!
3. Enjoy hot tea with honey before bedtime.
Steam from a hot cup of tea can help lubricate, expand, and relax your airways, just like a hot bath or shower. Caffeine makes it more difficult to fall asleep, so opt for herbal or decaffeinated tea.
- Before going to bed, a warm cup of tea can help you relax your mind and body.
- Aside from its antimicrobial effects, honey covers your respiratory passages and soothes them.
4. Turn on a humidifier in your bedroom.
As you breathe in via your nose and throat, the humidifier hydrates your nasal and throat tissues. A wet environment will likely make it simpler for you to sleep even if you don’t cough.
- When it comes to sleeping, most people like a relative humidity level of around 50%. In other words, in the dead of winter, a humidifier is more likely to be needed than in the sweaty heat of July.
- If you don’t frequently clean your humidifier, bacteria might build up and cause it to malfunction. A cough (and illness) may be induced instead of alleviated if this is the case.
Improving Your Sleep Environmen
1. Prop your head up under more pillows to aid mucus drainage.
At order to clear the airway, you cough because you feel a “tickle” in the back of your throat, which is caused by mucus. More of this mucus will be expelled from your throat and into your stomach if you raise your head with additional cushions.
- Rather than leaving your neck bent at an unnatural angle, stack the pillows so that your neck and upper body are supported as well. In order to avoid the dreaded stiff neck and cough, it’s best to avoid sleeping on your back.
2. Make sure your room is comfortable for sleeping.
Even if you have a cough, it will be simpler for you to fall and stay asleep if your bedroom is inviting to sleep in. Set the temperature to a comfortable level, use a high-quality mattress and pillow, and block out any disturbances that can disturb you while you sleep.
- The optimal temperature for sleeping is between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit (16 and 18 degrees Celsius).
3. Set a normal sleep routine, and stick to it when you have a cough.
Your body responds well to a consistent bedtime pattern, which helps you overcome the disruption of a persistent cough. Every night, follow the same routine, such as a warm bath, hot tea and some reading, meditation, and turning out the lights.
- At least an hour before going to bed, you should refrain from using your phone or reading your email, and you should avoid coffee and strenuous exercise for several hours.
4. Lie in bed and use relaxation techniques to fall asleep.
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths while lying down. Take a deep breath in and out. Try picturing a tranquil image that provides you peace and serenity if you need extra help with this task. With these approaches, allow yourself 15 to 30 minutes to fall asleep.
- Coughing might disrupt your deep breathing and make it difficult to stay focused. Despite the coughing, do your best to retain your calm.
Get up short and try again if you’re still awake after 15-30 minutes of lying down.
Get into a meditative state by following a sleep meditation.
5. Get up, do something relaxing, and try to fall asleep again.
It’s normally better to get up and restart the process of falling asleep if you’re unable to sleep due of your cough. Do something calming, like listening to soft music or meditating while sipping herbal tea with honey for 15 to 30 minutes. Then, return to your bed and try if you can fall asleep.
- Begin your sleep process by allowing yourself 30 minutes. If you’re still having trouble, consider getting up and trying again after a few minutes. Your body will eventually succumb and you’ll drift off to sleep!
Suppressing and Treating Your Cough
1. Take a spoonful of honey before bedtime.
It’s becoming more and more popular knowledge that honey may be used to treat coughs just as effectively as conventional over-the-counter medicines. Even if you’ve already had some honey in your nighttime herbal tea, try ingesting roughly 2 tsp (10 g) of honey before you go to bed to help you sleep better.
- Because of its antibacterial qualities and soothing effect on irritated respiratory passages, honey is a good choice as a topical antibiotic.
- The usage of honey appears to be particularly beneficial for children ages 1 to 5, who should not be given cough suppressant drugs. Honey should not be given to infants under the age of one owing to the possibility of botulism.
- For a similar effect, try sucking on a cough drop just before going to bed.
2. Try cough or cold medications that specifically match your symptoms.
Taking a cough suppressant drug, for example, would be appropriate if your symptoms were limited to a cough. If you don’t have a specific ailment, don’t take medication for it.
- Aside from antitussives (cough suppressants), there are two main types of over-the-counter cough medications: expectorants (to help clear mucus) and antihistamines (to prevent coughing) (Mucinex, for example).
- In many medications, the active ingredients include a combination of antitussives, cough suppressants, fever reducers, and analgesics. Make sure you find a drug that covers all of your symptoms.
- Everybody isn’t a candidate for over-the-counter drugs. The use of phenylephrine-containing oral decongestants should be avoided by people with high blood pressure, for example. Consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking or using any drug.
- Take the medication as prescribed by your doctor or by reading the label on the bottle.
3. Get checked for sleep apnea if you have a persistent nighttime cough.
Talk to your doctor if you have a persistent cough lasting more than a few weeks. If your long-term cough worsens at night and disrupts your sleep, you may want to consider having a sleep apnea test.
- A person with sleep apnea may experience episodes of breathing interruptions while they’re asleep. If untreated, this illness can be fatal, but using a CPAP mask while you sleep can be quite helpful in treating it.
- In addition, the use of a CPAP mask can reduce nighttime coughing that is linked to sleep apnea, as well.
- If you’re being tested for sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend that you have a sleep study performed.
4. Tell your doctor if your cough has caused a fear of sleeping.
You may feel suffocated when you wake up from a sound sleep, especially if you have a chronic, mucus-heavy cough. The fear of falling asleep that results from this can motivate some people to take extreme measures to keep themselves awake at night. If your nocturnal cough is affecting your sleep, make an appointment with your doctor straight soon.
- Whooping cough may be missed in children with a mucus-heavy nighttime cough and a fear of sleep if they are not examined by a doctor.