★ Key points to prevent and relieve nighttime coughs

According to the Spanish Society of Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery (SEPAR), cough is a common symptom of various pathologies and allergies, with an annual prevalence ranging from 10% to 30%. Coughing is a protective reflex behavior that functions to expel foreign objects or secretions that may irritate the bronchi, trachea, or larynx, such as impurities, gases, tobacco smoke, bacteria, supercooled or superheated air, or food particles.

As Cinfa physician Dr. Julio Maset explains, “Although this is one of the most common reasons for seeking medical attention, in most cases this symptom is not cause for alarm, especially if the symptoms are acute, i.e. less than 4 weeks, duration. However, there are many types of coughs, depending on their frequency or intensity, so coughs can be very annoying and greatly affect the quality of life of people with coughs.”

The most common cause of acute cough is an upper respiratory tract infection, e.g. coldthis pharyngitis, this acute bronchitis,besides pneumoniaintensify Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or postnasal drip, for example, sinusitis. Pathologies that may lead to chronic cough include chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) And postnasal drip. Likewise, different types of allergies can cause coughs with different characteristics.

Why do I cough more at night?

On the other hand, “a nighttime cough may be perceived as more bothersome or felt more intensely when we are in a period of rest. Often, coughs seem to increase or worsen because of the horizontal position we take while sleeping, which can cause discomfort in the upper respiratory tract (e.g. (pharynx) narrows as secretions accumulate in the back of the throat, triggering a cough. Regardless, this symptom can make it difficult to get a restful night’s rest, which can disrupt the body’s natural ability to recover, especially if the cough is When caused by a disease. Therefore, a lack of restful sleep can aggravate, worsen or make the condition chronic,” experts note.Likewise, lack of Dream A persistent cough at night can lead to difficulty concentrating, irritability, decreased energy, fatigue, and changes in behavior and mood during the day.

Likewise, environmental factors, such as the humidity in your bedroom, can influence the intensity of your nighttime cough. “Both high temperatures in the summer and heating in the winter can lead to dry indoor air. In this case, measures such as avoiding high temperatures and using a humidifier in the bedroom can help reduce the severity of the cough at night,” adds Dr. Maset.

Of course, the cause of the cough also needs to be treated, whether it’s chronic or acute. “If the cough is very annoying and disrupts your night’s rest, if it is chronic or if you have symptoms of asthma or bronchitis, your best option is to see our GP who will prescribe the most appropriate treatment. We cannot stop coughing because of And give up rest. If it’s a cold or seasonal allergies, our pharmacy is also able to offer us solutions for every type of cough,” concludes the Cinfa expert.

Tips to control nighttime cough:

1. Keep the humidity in the room at least 40%. A dry environment can irritate the respiratory tract and aggravate coughing. Consult your healthcare professional about the possibility of using a cool mist humidifier, and in the winter, don’t overuse the heat.

2. Raise the head of your bed. Or, if applicable, your son or daughter’s crib or bed. This will facilitate the movement of air through the airways and prevent postnasal drip. You can also use a double pillow or place a quadrant underneath it to merge your head slightly.

3. Perform nasal irrigation before bed. Rinsing your nasal passages with sea water or salt water can help relieve coughs and promote rest.

4. Take honey or herbal sugar to soothe your throat. On the other hand, avoid using menthol as it is an irritant.

5. Drink at least two liters of water every day. This habit keeps your respiratory tract hydrated and moist. Additionally, in the case of a phlegm-producing cough, it helps make mucus more fluid, making it easier to expel. In addition to water, you can also drink juices, broths, and infusions. This is especially beneficial if you do it before bed.

6. If a cough breaks out, take a deep breath and swallow your saliva. You can also drink lukewarm water or, if possible, a hot drink with a spoonful of honey.

7. Avoid smoky spaces. Smoke is an irritant and can stimulate coughing. Also don’t smoke, and if necessary ask those around you not to smoke.

8. If your cough is severe, seek professional help. If your cough prevents you from resting, especially if you have symptoms such as fever, difficulty breathing, or opaque phlegm, you may want to make an appointment with your family doctor so that he or she can properly diagnose you and prescribe the most appropriate treatment. If your cough is caused by a cold or seasonal allergies, you can see your pharmacist for advice on appropriate solutions.

9. If you have allergies, be aware of allergens. For example, when pollen levels are very high, go out as little as possible and keep your windows closed. On the other hand, if you are allergic to dust, be sure to keep the room well-ventilated and wipe dust off surfaces with a damp cloth.

10. If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease, get it under control.The disease is Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) It can cause throat irritation and coughing, especially at night. In addition to seeing a doctor to help you control burning sensation, avoid foods that cause burning sensation, such as fatty or spicy foods. Also, avoid large meals, especially within four hours before bed.


Spanish Society of Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery (SEPAR)

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