Nocturnal Asthma Symptoms: Prevention Tips and Remedies

About 70-80 percent of asthma sufferers suffer from symptoms at least once a week with a condition known as nocturnal asthma.

This often impairs the quality of sleep and shows a negative impact on everyday life, making it difficult to handle day-to-day tasks and your work.

So, what is nocturnal asthma?

Nocturnal (or nighttime asthma) is the most common form of asthma that worsens at night.

This affects nearly every asthmatic who wakes up in the middle of the night with wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing making the night most comfortable.

Studies showed that most asthma-related deaths happen during the night when patients feel most uncomfortable due to their nocturnal asthma symptoms.

Therefore, it is important to know more about your problem in detail so that you can get the best natural treatment as soon as possible.

Nocturnal Asthma Causes

Although nocturnal asthma mainly occurs at night, it is good to know that your asthma symptoms can even aggravate while sleeping, regardless of at what time of day you are sleeping.

The main reason for nighttime asthma is the body’s natural rhythm that plays the role of specific hormones being at their peak in the night and early morning.

Few other causes of nocturnal asthma also include:

Allergic triggers: The allergens present in your living room or bedroom (like pet dander or dust) may cause allergic reactions to aggravate asthma conditions at night.

Even at times when people who are exposed to allergens in the daytime or evening are sometimes vulnerable to suffering from nocturnal asthma due to late-phase response (getting affected severely after three to eight hours of exposure to the allergen).

Exasperating fumes from room heaters and traditional wood-burning earthen stoves may also cause asthma attacks at night while sleeping. It is therefore essential to choose your heating unit wisely so that you do not get your asthma worse.

Increase in mucous or sinusitis: During the night’s sleep, the airways narrow down and build up the mucus, which triggers nighttime wheezing and coughing. It causes more tightening of the airways.

More drainage from your sinuses can activate asthma in susceptible airways, which is quite common.

Due to Gastroesophageal reflux problem: If you are troubled frequently by heartburn, then the reflux of stomach acid rises through the esophagus to the larynx making the situation worse when you lie down.

It irritates the stomach and esophagus and activates the vagus nerve that sends signals to the bronchial tubes resulting in bronchoconstriction. Taking care of asthma and gas problems during the night is therefore essential to avoid nocturnal asthma.

Besides the above-mentioned nighttime asthma causes, there may be other reasons such as changes in hormone levels while sleeping, sleeping with your AC the whole night, wrong sleeping positions, etc.

Many doctors advise getting a proper diagnosis and treatment to treat the problem early so that you can be safe from a disturbance in your sleep to lead an everyday life.

Nocturnal Asthma Symptoms and Diagnosis

Can’t hold your breath and cough regularly at intervals during nighttime? If so, it is time to contact your doctor and diagnose yourself to know the reason.

If it is nighttime asthma, your specialist will take specific tests and find it out.

Mainly peak flow meter measurements are followed in diagnosing nocturnal asthma. It is a handheld device and is provided to the patients as a part of their care plan.

It helps to compare the severity of airway narrowing or contraction at different times during the night (at bedtime and after you wake up early morning).

If you wake up thrice or more than thrice at night or early morning with symptoms such as chest tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing, or asthma cough, then most probably you are suffering from nocturnal asthma, and you need to go for suitable treatment options.

How To Sleep With Asthma? (Best Sleep Positions)

Most of the time, a simple home remedy like changing your sleeping position at night can significantly help control your night asthma symptoms.

Knowing about the best sleeping position for asthma patients can help you get permanent relief if your asthma is not severe.

Studies show that sleeping with asthma in a reclining position may lead to nighttime asthma due to reasons such as a build-up of secretion in the airways, increase in the volume of blood in the lungs, increase in airway backing, and decreased lung volumes.

You are therefore recommended to try one of these two sleeping positions to deal with episodes of shortness of breath while resting:

Sleeping position #1

Lie on your side (left or right) and place a pillow between your knees or legs. Use a pillow to keep your head elevated and rest with your back straight.

Sleeping position #2

Lie on your back and place a pillow between your knees to keep them bent. Use a pillow to keep your head in an elevated position while resting.

For people who suffer from breathing problems and asthma cough while sleeping, using a bed wedge pillow can help a lot.

It allows them to rest with their upper body and knees/legs raised for better breathing.

These specially designed pillows are suitable for nocturnal asthma sufferers as they provide an incline while sleeping that helps pass a sufficient amount of air through airways effortlessly, limiting the chances of getting a night-time asthma attack.

How To Stop Or Prevent An Asthma Cough At Night?

As nocturnal asthma usually disrupts sleep during the night, you need to control the allergens in the bedroom.

Following are certain tips that can prevent nighttime asthma and help you get a good night’s sleep:

  • Use pillow covers and mattress that keeps away the dust mites
  • Keep your pets away and out of your bedroom, especially while sleeping
  • Install a humidifier to keep the air moist in your room while sleeping
  • Clean your bedroom and wash your bedding regularly

Not only for adults but nighttime asthma in children is also a matter of concern for parents as these children often feel chronically sleepy in the daytime, which negatively affects their studies.

Proper practical steps should, therefore, need to be taken by parents to control nocturnal asthma in toddlers. Controlling the allergens in the kid’s bedroom and following the above tips can surely help them too.

In addition to the above tips, consult with your doctor to get a prescription for your nocturnal asthma medications (like corticosteroids, bronchodilators, anti-inflammatory, and antihistamines).

Do not forget to take them on time before going to bed, as they continue to work throughout the night, providing you the great interruption-free sleep by preventing nighttime asthma.

Nocturnal Asthma Natural Home Remedies

Many natural remedies can be followed to relieve nocturnal asthma. Some of these include:

  • Have ginger as it has the compounds to enhance the muscle relaxant effects of the asthma drugs
  • Have Garlic to clear congestion in the lungs as it provides relief from the problem
  • Use mustard oil to massage the chest as it helps to clear the air passage and gives normal breath
  • Use Eucalyptus oil as a part of effective treatment due to its decongestant properties that break up the mucus
  • Consume figs as their nutritional properties promote the respiratory system and help to drain phlegm and apparent breathing difficulties.

These are among the most helpful asthma cough remedies, resulting in an enhanced ability to function during the daytime.

You can take the help of these nighttime asthma home remedies to get relief fast.