How to Help Stop Coughing at Night

Top tips to prevent cold and flu symptoms

When you have a cold, you need plenty of rest and a good night’s sleep to help your body fight the viral infection. But sleeping with a cold is easier said than done – especially if one of your symptoms is a persistent cough. It's no fun being kept awake all night continuously coughing because that tickle in your throat just won't settle!

If you're wondering how you can stop coughing at night and wake up feeling rested, the good news is that there are plenty of practical tips you can try. The simple home remedies we’ve listed below can help you get a good night's sleep when you're suffering from a night-time cough. Plus, we’ve rounded up some things to avoid doing, as they can all exacerbate night-time coughing.

Learn more about the treatment options for coughs.

Tips for controlling coughing at night

Hack your cough with these tips to help you sleep better and reduce coughing at night.

Have a hot drink at bedtime

Have a hot drink like warm squash or herbal tea before going to bed. The warm liquid will soothe your throat and help tackle a tickly cough at night. Alternatively, make a mug of hot lemon and honey or add 1½ teaspoons of honey into a cup of herbal tea. Honey has been shown to ease a cough.i However, it should never be given to babies younger than 12 months because of the risk of infant botulism.i

Use an extra pillow

One reason you may find your cough worse at night is that both a cough and a cold can feel more severe when you’re lying flat in bed. This is because the mucus from your nasal passages collects in, and irritates, the back of your throat when you're lying flat. If you have a post-nasal drip, this can also cause coughing at night. By propping your head up on an extra pillow, you can elevate your sleeping position and reduce the irritation in your throat.

Try gargling with salt water

Gargling with salt water is a traditional remedy that's worth giving a try before bed. Simply dissolve half a teaspoon of salt into a mug of warm water, then gargle with it for a few minutes. Don't drink the solution – spit it out after you've gargled. This can help to ease a sore throat and loosen mucus to help you stop coughing at night.

Use a humidifier

Dry air is known to make a cough worse,ii so if your bedroom is full of it, you can end up with a dry cough at night. A humidifier can add some much-needed moisture back into the air, helping you breathe more easily during the night. The moist air can also help loosen any nasal or chest congestion, which will also ease coughing at night. If you haven't got a humidifier, try having a hot shower before bed and breathing in the steam.

Ease your symptoms with Night Nurse

If your cough is the result of a cold (or even the flu), take a dose of Night Nurse before going to bed, for a good night's sleep without interruption. It's specially designed to target night-time cold and flu symptoms, including that pesky cough, so you can get some much-needed sleep.

Learn more about the different types of cough.

What to avoid to manage coughing at night

If you’re already dealing with a disruptive cough, the last thing you want to do is accidentally make it worse. Here’s a list of things you should avoid when you have a cough or a cold.

Late nights

If your cough is the result of having a cold, it’s important to keep in mind that your body will need more rest than normal to help you fight off the infection. Late nights and colds don’t make for good bedfellows – literally. Go to bed early, if you can, so you can get all the sleep you need. Even adjusting your schedule so you can go to bed an hour before your usual bedtime could make a difference.

Smoking or smoky environments

Smoking or being in smoky environments (which make it hard to avoid breathing in secondhand smoke) certainly won't help if you already have a cough. In fact, these factors could aggravate your cough and leave you coughing even more.

A cold bedroom

Don't go to sleep in a cold room, even if you normally like it cold. Having a common cold can alter your body temperature, and it will negatively affect your sleep quality if you wake up shivering during the night. Add an extra blanket to your bed, or turn the temperature up to a comfortable level.

Forgetting to take asthma medication

If you regularly take medication or use inhalers for asthma, it's important that you continue to take them as normal. It’s particularly vital not to miss doses if you’re suffering from a cold or cough, as your airways will be more inflamed, you'll produce more mucus and will therefore be more prone to coughing. Even if you only have mild asthma, a cold can trigger your symptoms.iii

Medicine to help treat coughing at night

The good news is that most coughs should clear up within three to four weeks, even if left untreated.iv But in the meantime, if you’ve had no luck with home remedies, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a restful night’s sleep. Night Nurse Liquid and Night Nurse Capsules are specially formulated for night-time use, and can help reduce coughing at night and, in turn, improve the quality of your sleep.

Find out where to buy Night Nurse to help you get a good night's sleep.


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Top tips to prevent cold and flu symptoms