The most common reason for a chronic cough at night is asthma although other conditions such as bronchitis, COPD, emphysema, cystic fibrosis and other respiratory conditions are known to cause excessive coughing. Many suggest that to sleep with a chronic cough from bronchitis, asthma or COPD is to go to bed only when you’re tired, breath only through your nose and avoid sleeping on your back. There is a technique called the Buteyko Emergency Procedure that stops persistent coughing and allows you to fall asleep easy. Here is how the procedure works:
If you are coughing it is recommended to lay on your tummy or left side and relax all your muscles. Pinch your nose and hold your breath as long as you can. If you can’t hold your breath due to coughing, cough through your nose. After you exhale take a small sniff through your nose then relax all your muscles especially concentrating on your upper chest. Remember not to force your exhale. Repeat. With each inhale take a smaller amount of air and relax completely on your exhale. Your primary objective is to self-suffocate yourself while relaxing so you experience light air hunger. When you breathe less while being relaxed you will notice that your arms and feet will get warm and your nasal passages will become moist in about 1-2 minutes. Continue to breathe less until you fall asleep. During the day you can use this exercise to reduce coughing bouts. This technique is used to get rid of excess coughing and reduce the damage it causes to airways, lungs and all body cells.
People with chronic coughing should avoid irritants that trigger a cough such as smoking. If your cough persists a chest radiograph should be ordered to rule out malignancy and other serious conditions. In adults postnasal drip syndrome and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) are also the most likely causes for a adult chronic cough. If postnasal drip syndrome is detected many doctors try decongestants and a antihistamine to curb their patients cough. An asthma diagnosis is confirmed by a pulmonary function test with a methacholine challenge. GERD is determined by its symptoms. If the cause is unclear a pulmonary specialist is recommended.
There are different types of coughs from acute which lasts less than three weeks, to subacute that persists between three and eight weeks and chronic which continues beyond eight weeks. An acute cough is developed due to an upper respiratory tract infection, bacterial sinusitis, signs of copd, allergic rhinitis and environmental exposure to irritants. Subacute is the symptom of asthma or bacterial sinusitis, but can also develop after an infection. Chronic can have many causes, but only a few diseases like postnasal drip syndrome, asthma, and GERD or the non-disease disorder Irritable Larynx Syndrome (ILS) . More about ILS see video below. A chronic cough can have two or more causes and an evaluation by your doctor including a medical history and physical exam should be conducted. A patients medical history includes current or prior tobacco use along with any other environmental exposures such as; industrial toxins, radon, or secondhand smoke.. Since certain medications can induce coughing it is important to relay all prescription, OTC’s and supplements in with your initial consultation. ACE inhibitors or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are a group of drugs used primarily for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) and congestive heart failure can cause a cough in women more than men. Your doctor may change your medication if a chronic cough is present.
Chronic bronchitis from exposure to cigarette smoke or other irritants is a cause for a chronic cough. This is what many call a “smokers cough” and roughly only five percent of patients receive treatment. Once the irritant is eliminated coughing usually decreases. Eosinophilic bronchitis has only recently been reported to cause a chronic cough. It is characterized by the presence of eosinophilic airway inflammation, similar to that seen in asthma. However, in contrast to asthma, non-asthmatic eosinophilic bronchitis is not associated with variable airflow limitation or airway hyperresponsiveness. The differences in functional association are related to differences in the localization of mast cells within the airway wall. Eosinophilic bronchitis is treated with oral or inhaled corticosteroids.
What are some natural remedies for a chronic cough? Here are a few you can try:
Black Pepper and Honey: 3-4 ground pepper seeds added to a tablespoon of honey.
Garlic with Onion Soup: Peal an onion and garlic and boil in water.
Cinnamon, Lemon Juice and Honey: Squeeze juice from a fresh lemon and add 1/4th teaspoon of finely ground cinnamon powder with a teaspoon of honey, mix well.
Turmeric Milk: Bring to boil a glass of milk with a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Reduce heat add sugar to taste. Not only are you getting the antiseptic properties in the turmeric that help with the cough, you are also receiving tryptophan in the milk which causes drowsiness.
Ginger, Honey and Tulsi: Take ½ a ginger peeled and ground, ½ teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of tulsi (holy basil) juice and make a paste. Eat it 2 -3 times a day to relieve a cough.
Apple Cider Vinegar, Ginger, Red Pepper, Water and Honey: Another paste that you can eat throughout the day. Combine a tablespoon of water, apple cider vinegar, honey with ¼ teaspoon of ginger and red pepper.
Almonds: Soak almonds in a cup of water overnight than skin and crush them. Add butter and sugar to form a paste.
Aloe Vera and Honey: Tablespoon of aloe vera juice and a tablespoon of honey, mix well.
Garlic and Honey: Mince a garlic clove and place in a bowl with 2 tbsp honey cover and leave over night. Take 1 tbsp during the day as needed.
Vinegar and Water: Add 2 tsp of vinegar in a glass of water and keep beside your bed. When you feel a cough coming on take a few swallows. Vinegar dissolves the mucus and reduces inflammation.
Eucalyptus and Mint Leaf Steam: Boil water with eucalyptus and mint leaves cover over head and inhale vapors. You can also try other aromatherapy oils.
With any natural remedy it is important to talk to your doctor about your chronic cough because it is a symptom of a disease like; COPD, asthma or bronchitis or could be another sleep disorder like obstructive sleep apnea and should be diagnosis and treated accordingly. According to WebMD.com severe cases of chronic cough can result in vomiting, rib fractures and/or lightheadedness and you should seek medical advice when you have a cough that lingers, especially one that brings up sputum or blood, disturbs your sleep or affects your work.. A natural remedy along with treatment may help you to control or eliminate your chronic cough so you can get a good night’s sleep. For more information about Sleep and COPD see: Lack of Sleep and COPD
The content provided in Sleep with a Chronic Cough from Bronchitis Asthma COPD is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.