You get in your comfiest pajamas, lay down in bed, and curl up under the covers… and the coughing starts. You can’t seem to clear your throat, there’s a nonstop itchy and tingling sensation, and you end up feeling like you stayed up half the night coughing. What gives? What might be causing these nocturnal respiratory issues, and how can you stop wheezing at night so you can get the sleep you need?
What Causes Wheezing at Night?
First, let’s back up for a moment and differentiate between coughing and wheezing — because technically, they aren’t the same thing. More specifically, wheezing is more of a high-pitched, whistling type of sound. When this happens, it’s due to your airways tightening. It can happen when you’re breathing in or out, although it’s more prominent during exhalation.
But why is this happening? Well, there are a few potential culprits:
- Asthma: Plus, it’s not uncommon for asthma symptoms to get worse at night.
- Allergies: Any number of allergens can cause wheezing. Do you allow your pets into your bed? Their fur or dander might be making it hard for you to breathe. Additionally, what are your pillows and bedding made with? Are there any materials or stuffing that you might be allergic to?
- Infection or illness: If you have coronavirus, a cold, or the flu, it might be making you wheeze at night.
- Medication: Certain medications — like aspirin and beta-blockers — can trigger asthma symptoms.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): With GERD, stomach acid repeatedly flows back into the tube that connects your mouth and stomach (your esophagus). This is called acid reflux, and it can agitate the lining of the esophagus. Because the windpipe becomes inflamed, it can make it difficult to breathe. Also, the acidity can trigger the vagus nerve, which ultimately tells the lungs to tighten. This might lead to wheezing.
On top of all of these potential triggers, bear in mind that in addition, wheezing can generally get worse when you’re laying down because this position can make it more difficult for your chest to rise and fall, making it harder to comfortably breathe.
So, what can you do about it?
How to Stop Wheezing at Night
All of this wheezing can not only lead to discomfort and even pain but it can also make it hard to get enough quality sleep at night. What are some ways to potentially alleviate your nighttime wheezing?
The best thing you can do is get to the source of the problem and address that. This means having a conversation with your healthcare provider to see what you might need — whether it’s an inhaler or a certain medication or something else entirely.
Beyond that, there are remedies for wheezing that you can try right at home:
- Drink warm liquids: If congestion is contributing to your wheezing, warm liquids can help loosen up the secretions in your chest and sinuses, making it easier to breathe.
- Ensure a proper humidity level inside your home: While it depends on who you ask, the ideal humidity level inside your home is somewhere between 30% and 50%. The point is to ensure that there’s enough moisture. If the air gets too dry, it can dry out and irritate your sinuses and airways.
- Keep the temperature at a comfortable level: Sleeping in temperatures that are too warm or too cold can lead to a variety of issues. The Sleep Foundation says that the ideal temperature for slumber is 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Take a steamy shower or bath: Similar to drinking warm liquids, sitting in the steam from a shower or bath can help clear out mucus.
- Avoid smoke: Whether you’re a smoker yourself, you spend time around smokers, you cook a lot of smokey foods, or you live in or near an area prone to wildfires, it’s time to take action. If you’re not sure if the air outside is safe to breathe, check it out on AirNow.gov. If you have to go outside or anywhere else there’s smoke, wear a mask!
- Get more vitamin C: While more research is needed, one 2022 review found that consuming vitamin C might support the respiratory system of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This is because vitamin C is high in antioxidants. Try eating more oranges, kiwis, bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, and tomatoes.
- Try breathing exercises: If you make a habit of working on your breathing, it might rid your lungs of stale air that has accumulated, it can increase your oxygen levels, and it can support your diaphragm in helping you breathe more efficiently.
- Run an air purifier: An air purifier with a medical-grade HEPA 13 filter can help remove particles in the air that might be triggering your wheezing.
The Right Air Purifier Can Make All the Difference
If bedtime brings along with it uncontrollable wheezing that keeps you up, an air purifier can be a game-changer. In addition to using one with a HEPA 13 filter, look for multiple layers of filtration. This is important because no single layer will be capable of capturing particles that are both solids and gases.
You also want an air purification system that utilizes a replaceable filter, not a washable one. Washable filters might sound more cost-efficient, but they’re incredibly difficult to clean, you expose yourself to all of the nasty particles that they caught, and they can cause your device to run less efficiently — meaning it won’t be able to get the air as clean.
The Sans air purifier monitors the air quality in your home and runs as needed. It’s whisper quiet, so it won’t disturb you at night. When it’s time to change the filter, it’ll notify you, so that it can continue running at optimal levels.
The air you breathe can have a significant impact on your overall health and wellness. Make it a priority with supreme air purification. Shop with Sans today.