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Why do we cough more at night

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Coughing is a defense mechanism that the body uses to expel air abruptly and thus mobilize the mucus or phlegm accumulated in the respiratory tract, facilitating its correct expulsion and improving breathing. Coughing is a common symptom caused by the cold or flu, but respiratory infections are most associated with this discomfort.

When we are sick with a respiratory condition, it is expected that we notice that the cough intensifies at night, causing constant episodes that interrupt the correct rest and make the discomfort worse. Have you ever wondered why we cough more at night? If your answer is affirmative, we invite you to continue reading this FastlyHealarticle, where we clarify this question that many people ask themselves.

Night cough

Respiratory infections, colds, and flu are the conditions that most cause the cough symptom. When we suffer from a viral disease, the mucosa of the upper respiratory tract becomes inflamed, which causes an increase in the amount of mucus that obstructs the passage of air through the nostrils and causes a condition known as posterior rhinorrhea.

Posterior rhinorrhea occurs when excess mucus accumulated in the nose begins to fall behind the pharynx, further irritating the throat and causing a cough. This is the leading cause of nocturnal coughs since the position we adopt when lying down makes it easier for mucus to travel to the pharynx and coughing episodes begin.

Why do we cough more at night?

During the night, the number of mucus increases, and this substance accumulates in the larynx, which causes that irritation of the throat and hoarseness that we notice the next day. In addition, this accumulation causes us that when we wake up, we feel like coughing to be able to expel all that mucus that has accumulated while we were sleeping.

For this reason, night coughs are also usually drier since when lying down, the body is not in the correct position to expel phlegm from the bronchi. Therefore, the cough is inertia during the day, and the symptoms improve. Likewise, it is also essential to take into account that during the night, the temperature drops, which increases the production of mucus even more and worsens the symptoms.

Conditions that cause a nighttime cough

Now that you know why we cough more at night, it is also essential that you are aware that certain diseases usually cause nocturnal coughs; some of them are:


This disease considerably inflames and narrows the airways, so breathing becomes even more complex when lying down, and coughing occurs as a defense mechanism for the body to receive the necessary air. In the following article you will find the best natural remedies for asthma.


Sinusitis causes inflammation of the paranasal sinuses and accumulation of mucus in their interior. Therefore people who suffer from this condition are more likely to suffer from posterior rhinorrhea—irritation in the throat and dripping mucus into the pharynx cause night coughing.

Viral and lung infections

Colds and flu are conditions characterized by causing a considerable increase in mucus production and irritation of the pharynx, and accumulation of phlegm in the respiratory tract. Excess mucus causes us to cough more at night. Bronchitis and pneumonia are lung infections that also cause this type of symptom.

Heart problems

People with heart failure tend to have a nocturnal cough due to this condition’s respiratory deficiency. Your heart rate slows when you lie down, and breathing can become difficult.


Many people allergic to dust mites react by presenting constant episodes of dry cough, which is usually worse at night, significantly if the room has contaminated carpets, curtains, or air conditioning. The entry of dust through the nostrils stimulates coughing in the body as a defense mechanism to get rid of these foreign particles.

Night cough treatment

Night cough is a very annoying symptom that is important to attend to so that the rest is an optimal and successful recovery. When we do not get enough sleep, our immune system can become depressed and lower our defenses. Contrary to what most people imagine, cough syrups do not usually positively affect nighttime coughs since their expectorant and bronchodilator action does not correct subsequent rhinorrhea. Therefore, the right way to treat nighttime coughs is to consume allergy medications.

Likewise, to reduce coughing at night, it is essential to empty our nostrils before sleeping with the help of saline solution or by inhaling steam. If you prefer the first option, you should fill an injector with saline solution and empty its contents into each nostril, which will open the accumulated mucus and prevent the nocturnal irritation of the pharynx that stimulates coughing.

When the nocturnal cough is persistent, it is necessary to visit the doctor. Once he has diagnosed its cause, he can prescribe inhalers, anti-allergy, and other medications that help control the discomfort. Whenever the cough is accompanied by fever, it is essential to see a doctor.

You should also bear in mind that what you eat will affect the production of mucus and phlegm; that is why we leave FastlyHealwith the foods that cause mucus so that you can avoid them.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Why do we cough more at night , we recommend that you enter our Lung and respiratory tract category .

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