Health & Fitness

Sleeping Better With a Cough

May 8, 2023   By Clarisa Mcdonald

Coughing like there’s LITERALLY no tomorrow? Yep, we’ve all been there; when you’re just desperately asking the snooze gods for help to catch some ZZZs, but to no avail.

Although coughing is your body’s way of protecting you from bacteria and other foreign particles, it MUST go. We prepared a list of remedies you can easily try at home. Because who doesn’t want a good night’s sleep and a clear throat the next day?

1. Drink a Warm & Soothing Drink Before Bed

Drinking warm liquids before bed can be an effective way to soothe a dry cough and help you sleep better. Warm water or warm herbal tea, such as thyme, ginger, or chamomile, can help to break up mucus in your respiratory tract and ease the discomfort of a dry cough.

Another good option is warm milk, which can help to soothe your throat and promote relaxation. However, be sure to avoid caffeinated drinks, as they can keep you awake and defeat the purpose of this advice.

By drinking warm liquids before bed, you can help to moisten your respiratory tract, reduce coughing, and prepare your body for a better night’s sleep, making it the easiest home remedy for your health condition.

2. Take a Hot Shower or Bath

Taking a hot shower or bath with hot water can be an effective way to ease the symptoms of a cough and stuffy nose. The steam from the hot water can help to loosen mucus and nasal congestion, making it easier to breathe. Inhaling steam can also help to soothe a cough reflex and reduce persistent coughs.

Free photo young woman drinking coffee and relaxing while taking a bath

Additionally, taking a hot shower or bath with hot water can help to relax your body and prepare you for sleep. As your body temperature rises during the shower or bath, you may feel drowsy and ready to sleep. When you step out of the shower or bath and cool down, your body will receive a signal that it’s time to hit the hay.

3. Adjust to an Inclined Sleeping Position

Lying on your back can result in mucus accumulation in your throat. Doing so also induces you to breathe through your mouth – drying the airways which leads to more coughing.

Sleeping in an inclined position helps you breathe better. Some like propping themselves up with more pillows, while others would even sleep on a recliner chair or adjustable bed base. In general, having your back straight on a 4” incline is recommended to keep your neck and spine still in neutral position. Be wary of this; you may cure your cough but end up with neck pain. (Related Article: ‘How to Sleep with Neck Pain‘)

Additionally, being at an inclined sleeping position can also help avoid post-nasal drip as the position helps preventing the mucus to pool in the back of the throat. Some people would prop up their heads with extra pillows to lift the head up better. You may also opt to use the adjustable height benefits of the Ecosa Memory Foam Pillow.

4. Keep Bedding Clean

You know from our article on washing your sheets and pillowcases that a dirty bed attracts dust mites and other allergens. These can easily trigger allergic reactions – worsening your dreadful cough.

5. Stay Hydrated

We’ve all heard the line “keep drinking water” at one point. And it was never wrong for anyone to say that. Just like drinking tea, keeping yourself hydrated helps break down and make mucus thinner. It also keeps your body well-hydrated which is always good for overall health.

6. Use a Humidifier to Counteract Dry Air & Reduce Nighttime Coughing

Maintaining the right humidity level can help stop coughing, especially at night. Dry air can irritate your throat and make it more difficult to breathe, leading to more coughing. To combat dry air, consider using a humidifier in your bedroom, particularly during the winter months when indoor heating can dry out the air.

A humidifier adds moisture to the air, which can help soothe your throat and reduce coughing. By using a humidifier, you can create a more comfortable sleeping environment and reduce nighttime coughing.

7. Try Using Lozenges to Sooth Nocturnal Coughs

If you’re experiencing a nighttime cough or nocturnal cough and sore throat due to the common cold, dissolving lozenges can be a helpful way to ease your symptoms and improve your sleep.

Lozenges are designed to dissolve slowly in your mouth, which allows the active ingredients to coat your throat and provide soothing relief. Many lozenges also contain inhibitors that can help to reduce the cough reflex and ease inflammation in your throat.

When choosing lozenges, look for those that contain ingredients like menthol, eucalyptus, honey, or lemon, as these can be particularly effective at soothing a sore throat and reducing coughing.

8. Consider using Cough Medicine

If your cough is keeping you up at night, you may want to consider using some over-the-counter cough medicines or cough suppressants such as cough syrups. Antihistamines and decongestants can help reduce coughing caused by allergies or congestion, while expectorants can help loosen mucus or phlegm and make it easier to cough up.

However, it’s important to note that these medications may have side effects and should be used with caution. Be sure to seek medical advice from your doctor or healthcare provider before using any cough medicine, as they can interact with other medications you’re taking and may not be suitable for everyone.

9. Address Acid Reflux and Heartburn to Reduce Nighttime Coughing

If you’re experiencing persistent coughing at night, it could be a sign of acid reflux or heartburn. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common condition where stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, which can cause irritation and inflammation. This can trigger a cough reflex and make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.

To address GERD and reduce nighttime coughing, consider making some lifestyle changes. This can include avoiding large meals before bed, limiting your intake of caffeine and alcohol, and elevating your head and upper body while sleeping. You may also want to talk to your healthcare provider about medications or other treatments that can help to reduce your symptoms.

10. Relax

Don’t forget to make yourself feel as comfy as possible! Watch a funny movie or read a good book. Follow all the tips, turn off the lights, put the gadgets away, and off to snooze land you go.

If your symptoms persist for longer than two weeks, or is accompanied by other kinds of pain, speak to a doctor immediately.

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