16541 Pointe Village Dr #207 • Lutz, FL 33558


Chiropractic Clinic
Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep When You Have a Cough

If you cough at night, you can try using a small candy (lozenges), a humidifier (device that adds moisture to the air), or raising your head or neck.

It’s really late. You want to be fast asleep, but whenever you start to fall asleep, a cough wakes you up again.

A cough during the night can be annoying and frustrating. You need to sleep so you can rest and get better from your sickness, and be able to function during the day. But your persistent cough is not allowing you to get the much-needed sleep you desperately want.

So, what can you do to stop your cough at night?

In this article, we will explore some options you can consider for different types of coughs, such as wet and dry coughs, and those ticklish ones at the back of your throat.

How to soothe a wet cough

Wet coughs, also known as productive coughs, usually happen when there is too much mucus in the chest, throat, and mouth.

Raise your head and neck

Sleeping on your back or side can make mucus gather in your throat and make you cough. To prevent this, put a few pillows or a wedge under your head and neck to raise them a little. Don’t lift your head too high, or it might cause neck pain and discomfort.

Try an expectorant

Expectorants help to make the mucus in your breathing tubes thinner, which makes it easier for you to cough out phlegm.

In the United States, the only expectorant approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is called guaifenesin. It is sold under brand names like Mucinex and Robitussin DM.

If your cough is caused by a cold or bronchitis, research has shown that guaifenesin can be a safe and helpful treatment.

Swallow a bit of honey

In a study conducted in 2013, it was found that giving 1 and a half teaspoons of honey before bedtime helped some children with cough sleep better. However, it’s important to note that this study relied on surveys from parents, which may not always be completely accurate.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises against giving honey to children who are younger than 1 year old. This is because there is a risk of a serious illness called botulism, which can be fatal.

Sip some warm beverage

Drinking a hot drink can make a sore throat feel better after coughing and help loosen mucus. Good choices include warm water with honey and lemon, herbal teas, and broths. Just make sure to finish your drink at least an hour before going to bed.

A hot shower helps

The steam from a hot shower can help to loosen the mucus in your chest and sinuses, making it easier for you to breathe.

How to soothe a dry cough

A dry cough can happen because of different things like acid reflux, asthma, mucus running down the back of your throat, certain medications, and infections in the upper respiratory system.

Sometimes, but not very often, whooping cough can also cause a dry cough.

A lozenge might help

You can buy throat lozenges at drugstores and shops. They come in different flavors.

Some have menthol to help clear your sinuses. Some have vitamin C, and some have medicines that can help with a sore throat.

No matter which one you choose, make sure to finish the lozenge before you lie down so you don’t accidentally swallow it and choke. Don’t give lozenges to young children because they can be dangerous if swallowed.

Use a decongestant

Nasal congestion medicines can help reduce the excess mucus that leads to a persistent cough at night.

These medicines should not be used by people with high blood pressure or children under 12 years old because they can be harmful.

Consider a cough suppressant

Cough suppressants, also called antitussives, stop coughing by blocking the reflex that causes you to cough.

They can be useful for dry nighttime coughs because they can prevent your cough reflex from being activated while you’re sleeping.

Drink a lot of fluids

It’s really important to drink enough water when you’re not feeling well. Drinking fluids regularly can help keep your throat moist, which protects it from things that can make you cough.

Try to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day. But remember to stop drinking fluids at least an hour before you go to bed, so you don’t have to use the bathroom during the night.

How to relieve a ticklish cough

If you have a cough because of allergies or mucus dripping down your throat, it might make you unable to sleep due to an itchy or ticklish feeling in your throat.

Use a humidifier

When the air is very dry, it can make your throat feel irritated and cause you to cough a lot.

But be careful not to make the air too wet. Allergens like dust mites and mold can get worse in damp air, and dampness can make asthma worse sometimes.

To make sure the air in your sleeping area has the right amount of moisture, around 50%, you can use a tool called a hygrometer to measure how much moisture is in the air.

Clean out your beddings

The experts at the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology suggest that you clean your sheets, mattress covers, blankets, and pillowcases using hot water at a temperature of 130°F (54.4°C) or higher. It’s recommended to do this once a week.

If you have allergies to pet dander or pet saliva, it’s a good idea to limit cuddling with your pets to daytime and avoid having them in your bedroom at night.

Oral histamines

Talk to a doctor or nurse to find out if your cough can be treated with a medicine you can buy without a prescription or if you need a prescription. These medicines can stop your body from making substances called histamines and acetylcholine, which make you cough.

What causes a cough?

A cough can happen because of many different reasons. If you know what is causing your cough, it will be easier for you to find a treatment that works.

Here are some things that can cause coughing:

  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Viruses like colds and the flu
  • Bacterial infections like pneumonia and bronchitis
  • Postnasal drip (when mucus drips down the back of your throat)
  • Smoking
  • Certain medications, like ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, and some drugs for pain and inflammation (NSAIDs)
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Whooping cough

If you’re not sure why you’re coughing, a doctor can do tests like chest X-rays, lab tests, scope tests, or CT scans to find out what’s causing it.

You may want to get a whooping cough vaccination, and if you smoke, quitting can make your cough better in as little as 8 weeks.

When to see a healthcare provider

Usually, a cough caused by an infection or something irritating will go away within a few weeks by using home remedies or over-the-counter medicine.

But sometimes, a cough can be more serious. If your cough lasts for more than 3 weeks, changes from being dry to wet, you cough up more phlegm than usual, you have a fever, have difficulty breathing, or vomit, you should make an appointment to see a healthcare professional.

If you wheeze, your ankles are swollen, or you are losing weight unintentionally or without explanation along with your cough, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.

If you have trouble breathing, cough up blood or mucus that is pink in color, or have chest pains along with your cough, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Frequently asked questions

How do you stop coughing at night?

Raising your head and neck and using a cough medicine can help stop coughing for a short time.

To solve a long-lasting cough at night, it’s important to find out what’s causing it. There are different ways to treat it, like using over-the-counter medicines, staying hydrated, and avoiding things that make you cough.

Why does a cough worsen at night?

It all goes back to gravity. When you sleep at night, lying down flat can cause mucus to build up in your throat. The air you breathe while sleeping can also affect you because there might be dust, pollen, and other things that can bother you.

What is the right way to lay down when you have a cough?

If you lie down on your back, stomach, or side, you might get mucus in your throat and start coughing.

To stop this from happening, raise your head and neck. You can put a few pillows or soft things together to make a raised surface for your head and neck to rest on.


A cough at night can bother you, but there are ways to make it better so you can sleep peacefully.

If your cough is because of a cold, the flu, or allergies, you can try some easy things at home or take over-the-counter medicine for cough, cold, or allergies.

If your symptoms don’t go away after a few weeks or if they get worse, talk to a doctor for help finding out what’s wrong and getting treatment.


Dr. Berner does not diagnose, treat, or prevent any medical diseases or conditions; instead, he analyzes and corrects the structure of his patients with Foundational Correction to improve their overall quality of life. He works with their physicians, who regulate their medications. This blog post is not designed to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or any other individual. The information provided in this post or through linkages to other sites is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, consultation, or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Foundation Chiropractic and Dr. Brett Berner are not liable or responsible for any advice, the course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this article or others.

What Our Patients Say About Us


We’re here for you when you need us.

Created by DearDoc

All Rights Reserved Foundation Chiropractic