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How to Stop Coughing During Your Sleep

Updated on November 2, 2010

Coughing During Your Sleep

If you find yourself struggling to stop coughing at night while you are trying to sleep, don't feel alone, there are many more like you. The reasons for nighttime coughing can vary, and there are several various treatments that can be tried to finally stop that nagging cough and get some sleep.

Many people cough at night due to postnasal drip. This is when mucus slides down the throat, irritating it, resulting in a cough that is tickly feeling. There are few things on Earth more disturbing, but there are some remedies to try:

  • Sleep with a humidifier if your room is full of dry air. Coughs can often be caused by air that is too dry, so moisten it up a bit, especially in the winter.
  • Drink as much as you can. The more water you drink, the better able your body will be to thin out the mucus that might be causing the cough. When you can get this up, the coughing should finally ease.
  • Cough drops can be used before bed, and some people actually get relief from their insistent cough, but for others, they do little more than give them something to do. However, often cough drops or hard candy can ease a scratch or tickly throat, allowing you to finally fall asleep.
  • Try propping you head up with a couple pillows. If your cough is worse when you lie down, avoid this position. Although it might take some getting used to, sleeping this way assists many with their nighttime hacking.
  • Try cough suppressants. Like anything, this will work great for some, and do nothing for others. Make sure that what you take is a cough suppressant, like Dextromethorphan, and not Guaifenesin, since it is a mucus thinner, which can actually make you cough more frequently and should be used during the daytime. Codeine is also very good at relieving coughs, but can only be gotten through a prescription, and it can be habit forming.
  • Try drinkinghot soupor liquids before retiring. Often if your throat is the issue, this will work wonders. Honey has also been used by many to soothe irritated throats that lead to coughing.

If your cough has lasted for a long time, and you experience wheezing, fever, or coughing that is violent in nature, seeing a doctor might be the wise thing to do. You should see a doctor if you have any of the following problems:

  1. A cough that you cannot control no matter what you do. This can be a sign of something more serious than a simple cough, so a doctor would need to examine you.
  1. If the cough results in mucus that is bad smelling, thick, green, yellow, or reddish.
  1. You notice that you have suddenly lost a lot of weight that was not intended.
  1. Having a cough at night that leaves you covered in sweat.

If you find yourself having a hard time breathing, or you have coughed and seen a fair amount of blood, it is probably time to go to the emergency room. However, seeing blood in you mucus isn't always cause for alarm, since coughing a lot can tear the blood vessels found in the throat, resulting in small amounts of blood to be visible. More than a little however, should be taken seriously.

Trial and error might be the best way to resolve your coughing issue and finally get some much-deserved rest!


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    • gajanis786 profile image

      gajanis786 6 months ago

      Very informative. Thank you.

    • profile image

      ADam 2 years ago

      Thank you