When you’re feeling poorly, sometimes a good night’s sleep is all you crave to help hit the reset button. But travelling to the land of nod is not easy when cold symptoms decide to flare up the second your head hits the pillow.
Whether you’re nodding along at your screen after a desperate late-night internet search or want to pass on these tips to your worn-out sick flat mate, here are some of the ways to help stop coughing at night. Then you’ll have one less thing keeping you awake when you should be catching those zzzzz’s…
Tip 1 – Swap your usual cuppa for hot water and lemon
We’re a nation of tea guzzlers so it’s no surprise that as soon as a cold strikes a cuppa is presented faster than you can say ‘stick the kettle on.’ But instead of opting for your usual builders brew or green tea before bed, switch to a cup of hot water and a wedge of lemon. The warm liquid can help to break up mucus in your airways while the honey has soothing properties. Also opting for decaffeinated tea is preferred before bed as anyone who’s had an espresso after 8pm will know!
Tip 2 – Turn up the heat
If you want to help break up the congestion in your chest and loosen up phlegm then it is full steam ahead! Dry airways might make coughing worse at night-time, so enjoying a warm shower, bath or sitting with your head over a bowl of hot water before bed could work wonders. We love a good excuse for a little pamper session…
However – disclaimer alert! – if you’re an asthma sufferer then added steam could make your cough worse so this tip will not apply to you. If unsure, always seek out medical advice.
Tip 3 – Monitor your sleeping environment
Do you like to sleep with a fan on? Stop! This exposure to cold air on your face could be making your cough worse.
If you have a dry cough then add a little moisture into the room with the help of a humidifier. For a more intense hit for full on flu-like symptoms you could also add a couple of drops of vapour remedy to the humidifier.
Tip 4 – It’s all about the angles
When you collapse on to your bed at night, your usual sleeping position can actually make your cough worse. This is because when you lay flat postnasal drainage and mucus swallowed during the day can irritate your throat. Grrrrrr, gravity!
You can try to stop this from happening by propping yourself on a slight angle – a couple of pillows should do the trick.
Tip 5 – The nose is for breathing, the mouth is for eating
It may feel a little forced at first, but try to make sure your breathing technique is through your nose not your mouth when you go to sleep. This may help the coughing situation as it will put less stress on your throat.
Tip 6 – Soothing remedies
If you’ve been suffering from a cough then you may have already tried every over-the-counter remedy going to help you sleep. But, if have you had cough lozenges before bed? These could soothe your throat and consequently help you drift off to the land of nod with ease.
For more advice, speak to one of our in-store pharmacists who can talk you through the options to help soothe your cough.
The serious stuff
Persistent coughs should not be ignored, if you’re experiencing symptoms for more than 3 weeks please seek advice from your GP.
Our tips are suitable for anyone aged 12 years and over. And if you have a cough, but also have an underlying condition such as asthma, COPD, heart disease, acid reflux or allergies, always speak to your GP first.