Why Is My Cough Worse at Night? This Is What You Need to Understand

why is my cough worse at night


Having a cough can be annoying, but in some ways, it can help protect your body.

Keep in mind that you cough to get rid of irritants such as mucus, germs, or dust from your throat and airways. If this process isn’t instantaneous, your body would have a hard time expelling these unwanted particles. 

Of course, no one would want to be coughing all the time, especially at nighttime, and no, you’re not just imagining it. If you’re wondering, “Why is my cough worse at night?” you need to know why and how to manage it. 

Here, we’ll talk about the reasons why your cough gets worse at night, plus tips on how to ease your symptoms, as well as when to see a doctor.

Possible Answers to “Why Is My Cough Worse at Night?”

Remember how coughing helps get rid of mucus and other irritants in your throat and airways? It’s easier to do that when you’re moving around, as this helps loosen any trapped mucus. When you’re lying down, mucus will start pooling in the back of your throat, aka postnasal drip

Another reason why coughs get worse at night is acid reflux. Don’t forget that acid is an irritant to the throat, much like mucus, germs, or dust. People who have this condition may experience terrible nighttime coughs because lying down forces acid to come back up the esophagus, activating the coughing reflex.

Managing Nighttime Coughs: 3 Tips to Know

Whether your cough is caused by postnasal drip or acid reflux, you’ll notice that lying down makes it worse. To combat this, you can try sleeping with pillows propped up to prevent mucus from collecting in the back of your throat. 

Now, if you have acid reflux, you can also do the trick with the pillows, plus avoiding late-night snacking. When you eat before bedtime, it can make reflux worse, which in turn, makes nighttime coughs worse. 

As for those whose main problem is dry air cough, the solution isn’t always a humidifier. Yes, a dry, indoor environment could make a cough worse, but using a humidifier improperly can make you prone to bacterial infections. If you want to use a humidifier, make sure to only put sterile water and to clean it according to directions. 

When to See a Doctor

If your cough hasn’t cleared up after 18 days or 3 weeks, consult a doctor. It’s also a good idea to go to an urgent care clinic if your cough gets worse and is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever and persistent congestion.

For kids, don’t wait until symptoms get worse. Set an appointment with a doctor asap and be on the lookout for signs of an emergency including bluish skin, difficulty breathing, a fever accompanied by a rash, and so on.

Worried About Your Cough?

Now that you know the answers to, “Why is my cough worse at night?” do you still have questions about your symptoms? 

If yes, don’t hesitate to call us at (662)553-4732. You can also drop by our clinic. We’re open every day, from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm.