Feeling fine all day only to find that you have a persistent cough when it’s time to go to bed can seem a little strange, but there are actually a few different reasons this may happen.
Common Causes of a Nighttime Cough
Two common causes of a nighttime cough include gastroesophageal reflux disease and postnasal drip.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
GERD is a common condition wherein stomach acid repeatedly flows back up into the tube (esophagus) that connects your mouth and stomach. Common symptoms of GERD include heartburn, backwash, upper abdominal or chest pain, trouble swallowing and a nighttime cough. GERD symptoms may worsen at night or while lying down.
The best way to treat a GERD-induced nighttime cough is to manage the GERD itself. GERD management may include antacids, medications to block or reduce acid production and surgical options.
When produced in normal amounts, mucus is usually swallowed or cleared without notice. With postnasal drip, excess mucus accumulates and drips down the back of your throat. This may feel like tickling or needing to clear your throat or cough frequently. When lying down at night, mucus does not easily slide down your throat, leading to a nighttime cough.
Postnasal drip is usually the result of a deviated septum, bacterial infection, allergies or chronic acid reflux. An ENT specialist can help you diagnose and treat the source of your postnasal drip. For instance, if your postnasal drip results from a pollen allergy, your specialist may recommend taking medication or avoiding Armentrout Preserve on high-pollen days.
General Tips To Manage Your Nighttime Cough
In addition to managing GERD, postnasal drip and other conditions contributing to your nighttime cough, a few at-home strategies to help you get a better night’s sleep include:
- Elevate your head while you sleep using a pillow wedge or one-sided bed raisers to help prevent severe acid reflux or mucus accumulation.
- Run a humidifier to prevent dry air from exacerbating your cough.
- Use cough drops, a throat spray or tea with honey to soothe your irritated throat and suppress your cough.
- Eat at least two hours before bed to give your stomach time to settle before lying down.
By treating the underlying condition and employing a few strategies to manage your cough, you can help ensure a better night’s rest and improved energy throughout your day. To learn more about managing your nighttime cough, contact Pinnacle ENT Associates today to make an appointment with one of our specialists.