How to Get Rid of a Nocturnal Cough Fast: 4 Simple Steps

Updated in October 2022

To soothe a nocturnal cough, you may find relief in ensuring you maintain your throat hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoiding dry rooms or climates. There are other factors, like dusty furniture and other allergens, that can also worsen your cough at night. 

Nocturnal coughs are one of the body’s defense mechanisms to protect foreign substances even phlegm from entering the respiratory airways. Coughs at night can be very tiring, however, and may require interventions. 

It is important to see a doctor if you are unable to sleep due to your cough, if you experience episodes of nocturnal coughing frequently, or if the coughing lasts for over 5 days a week. You should additionally seek assessment if you have other symptoms, like fever or coughing with blood. 

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These are 4 simple ways to relieve your cough quickly: 

1. Hydrating the throat 

Taking sips of water at room temperature or warm tea when coughing emerges may be beneficial in stopping nocturnal coughing. Fluids can moisten the mouth and throat to a dry cough. Warm milk with honey can also be a good option that will also make you fall asleep faster. 

Read more about how to get rid of a sore throat if irritation is causing your coughing.

2. Keeping the respiratory airways clear

In addition to taking measures to manage phlegm build-up, you should also avoid the accumulation of solid debris within the nose. You can remove any snot or hard mucus with a moist cotton tip- Performing a nebulizer, blowing your nose, and inhaling vapor when showering can also help to keep your nose clear. 

Learn more about how you can perform a nasal irrigation at home to keep your nose and airways clear.

3. Preventing air from becoming dry in the home

To prevent air in the home from becoming too dry, you can add a bowl of water near a working fan or near the air conditioning vent. Another possibility is to hang a towel drenched in warm water on a chair.

Using a humidifier can also be useful, and can be used to perform aromatherapy, which can soothe a cough and spread a pleasant scent throughout the home. To achieve this same effect, add 2 to 4 drops of your favorite essential oil in a bowl of hot water, and allow the vapor to reach all corners of the room. 

4. Keeping the house clean 

A dry and irritative cough is usually related to a respiratory allergy. Therefore, keeping your house and workplace clean and organized may make a big difference in soothing your cough. Some tips that may help are: 

  • Keeping the house well-ventilated by opening the windows when possible
  • Removing plush toys, curtains and rugs where possible 
  • Cleaning your house on a daily basis, being sure to avoid using strong-smelling products 
  • Remove excess objects and papers, especially under the bed, under the couch and on top of shelving or other furniture 
  • Put pillows and mattresses in antiallergenic covers 
  • Place pillows and mattresses under the sun when possible 
  • Swap your pillows and pillowcases periodically, as they can accumulate mites 

These measures should be adopted as lifelong habits to ensure best efficacy. Check out other home remedies for coughs that can help you treat your night cough naturally.

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Why coughs worsen at night 

A nocturnal cough can be caused by the cold, flu or an allergy. These coughs are often irritating and persistent and can even interfere with sleep. When you lie down, drainage of respiratory secretions becomes more difficult, which can lead to discharge build-up and trigger coughing. 

The main causes of coughing that particularly affect children are: 

  • Respiratory allergy, asthma or rhinitis 
  • Recent upper respiratory infection, like a cold, flu or pneumonia
  • Foreign bodies in the nose, like a bean, corn or small toy
  • Inhaling smoke or other vapors that can inflame the nose and throat tissue 
  • Emotional tension, fear of the dark, or fear of sleeping alone
  • GERD, when the food content or acid backflows up into the esophagus and irritates the throat 

Another possible cause of a nocturnal cough is the growth of the adenoids. An adenoid is a protective structure located between the nose and throat that may contribute to secretion accumulation. If you are pregnant, check out natural ways you can treat a cough that are safe for use throughout gestation.