Sometimes, when you lie down for a night’s sleep, a terrible night cough wakes you up.
Although coughing may be a protective response against infections, a tickly cough at night is abnormal.
A nighttime cough gets worse at night and sometimes better in the day.
However, I will show you the causes of nocturnal coughs and ways to get rid of them.
Causes of night coughs.
Night coughs are caused by so many factors, but some are more common than others.
Common causes of nocturnal coughs.
1. Upper airway cough syndrome (post-nasal drip).
Postnasal drip is the dropping of mucus from the nasal cavity to the back of your throat.
This happens when you are having a cold and flu, or nasal irritation. Thus making your body produce more mucus than normal.
The mucus drops at the back of your throat, causing a night-time cough.
Other symptoms of a postnasal drip.
- Runny nose.
- Sore throat and cough.
- trouble swallowing.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that causes the flow back of stomach acid into the oesophagus.
The acid irritates your oesophagus, leading to a cough reflex.
Other symptoms of GERD are:
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Sore throat.
- Acid reflux.
- Chronic cough with chest pain.
Asthma is a respiratory tract infection that causes the airways to swell and become narrow, causing breathing difficulty.
Other symptoms of asthma.
- Chronic cough that worsens at night.
- Chest pain and tightness.
- A whistling sound while breathing out.
Post-infectious is anything that happens after an infection or because of an infection.
It often causes inflammation and disruption of airway cells, resulting in a post-infectious cough. (1)
Smoking is one of the major causes of chronic coughing and lung diseases. It lowers the bik level in the body.
Bik causes the natural death of mucus-producing cells in the body.
Mucus producing cells are responsible for the excessive production of mucus in the nasal cavity, which causes postnasal drip and cough reflex. (2)
6. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
COPD is a group of lung diseases that cause breathing difficulties. It is of two forms;
- Chronic bronchitis.
Chronic bronchitis is the swelling of bronchial tubes, a tube that carries air in and out of your lungs.
The inflammation of the tube causes phlegm to buildup, resulting in breathing difficulty.
Emphysema: Is the damage of the air sac in the lungs. Thus making it harder for the lungs to take in oxygen and carbon dioxide out of your system.
Smoking is the major cause of COPD. Other minor causes are.
- Lack of alpha-1 antitrypsin protein.
- Frequent exposure to pollutants and gas.
7. Cold and Flu.
Colds and flu are virus-induced respiratory tract infections. We characterize it by a runny nose, congestion, cough, and sore throat.
Allergens are foreign substances like pollen grains or mould that irritate the airways, causing symptoms like sneezing, sore throat, nocturnal coughs, and others.
How to stop coughing at night, naturally?
Although both drugs ease cough symptoms, natural home remedies soothe it even better.
Here is how you can stop coughing at night without otc medicine.
1. Raise your head with a pillow.
Most night coughs arise from a postnasal drip, which is the dripping of mucus at the back of your throat. Elevating your head with a pillow will help prevent it.
Make use of honey and lemon juice.
Both honey and lemon juice have antimicrobial properties, and can also lose thick phlegm in your airways.
Mix 2 teaspoons of honey with hot lemon juice and drink before bed. However, it should not be given to children under one year, to avoid infant botulism.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) causes throat irritation and coughs, especially at night.
People with GERD should speak with their doctors on how to manage it. Quitting foods that cause acid reflux and eating at least 4 hours before bedtime may ease the symptoms.
Asthma is one of the leading causes of chronic coughs that are worse at night.
Treating the ailment can help relieve the night coughs.
We can treat asthma with an inhaler. See your doctor if the symptoms persist.
Smoking causes persistent coughs and lung cancer. Avoiding it will help control coughs caused by smoking.
Make use of a humidifier.
Dry air causes a dry cough. Humidifiers can add more humidity to the air to relieve congestion, coughs, and sore throats.
You can run a humidifier in your bedroom if you have a cough, but you should be mindful of excess moisture, to prevent mould formation.
Use hot fluids.
Hot fluids keep your throat hydrated, easing the symptoms of runny nose, coughing, sneezing, sore throat, and cold. (3)
Hot fluids include:
- Caffeine-free teas.
- Warm juice.
- Herbal teas.
Make sure your room is free from allergens such as dust, moulds and pollen grains.
You can do that by:
- Cleaning your room with an air filter.
- Wash your bed sheet with hot water once a week.
- Preventing pets from entering your bedroom.
Never allow cockroaches into your room.
Cockroach contains a protein that may cause allergies and asthma attacks.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, cockroaches are the frequent cause of allergies and asthma attacks.
You can prevent cockroach exposure by:
- Sealing food containers so they can’t enter it.
- Removing useless newspapers and magazines that harbour them.
- Keeping your house clean.
- Sealing cracked walls and floors in your house.
- Use cockroach bait and traps.
Coughing at night in toddlers, and ways to control it.
When your child is having a nighttime cough, be mindful of the medication you offer him.
Over-the-counter cough drugs should not be given to children under 4 years. Instead, you expose them to hot steam.
You can do that by taking him to your bathroom, lock the door, and turn on your shower to allow him to breathe in hot steam for 20 minutes. The steam will soften his airways, hence improving the cough symptoms.
You can also control night coughs with hot fluids, or by raising the child’s head with a pillow, and by adding cool moisture to the room using a humidifier.
Nighttime coughing can annoy, however, the above remedies can help you soothe it.
Always see your doctor when the symptoms persist.