Community Views: Frequent Nighttime Asthma Symptoms
Last updated: September 2023
Asthma symptoms can pop up at any place and at any time of the day. Sleep disturbances are common in those living with asthma in which approximately 75% of asthmatics reported having an increase in symptoms at night. It can be extremely frustrating and scary to experience nighttime asthma symptoms and prevent us from getting a good night's sleep.1
We asked our Facebook community: What asthma symptoms do you experience most frequently at night? Here are the most common responses.
Coughing and chest tightness
Some members have noted that they experience excessive coughing and chest tightness more so at night than during the day. For approximately 75% of asthmatics, coughing is their only asthma symptom. As for chest tightness, research has linked this symptom to stress and anxiety, and many members have found it helpful to try to slow their breathing and take in deeper breaths.2
What helps our community members with coughing and chest tightness?
- "I am now having hot ginger tea with lemon a little while before I go to sleep.”
- “Seems my CPAP loosens mucus in my airway and I cough for a short time and it goes away.”
- “I had to sleep sitting propped up on 3 pillows, or in a chair."
- "When it’s bad I use my albuterol inhaler, two Robitussin cough pills, and a big gulp of Coca-Cola because it helps open up your bronchial tubes too.”
Wheezing is a high-pitched lung sound that occurs from a compressed airway caused by mucus, inflammation, or debris. Although research has not found a cure for wheezing, there are medications and alternative therapies that may relieve wheezing throughout the night. There are also other conditions that may cause wheezing, such as GERD, allergies, and sleep apnea.3, 4
What helps our community members with wheezing?
- “I also find myself propped up on a lot of pillows. Can't lay flat at all.”
- "Montelukast before going to bed. That's my maintenance med."
- "When it does happen, I wake up and take a breathing treatment."
- "I have to either prop up on a wedge and pillows to about 45-degree angle or sleep in a recliner."
Phlegm or sputum is the mucus that is coughed up from your lungs and throat and can be excessive in those living with asthma and allergies. Avoiding allergens, using a neti pot, and staying hydrated could make a huge difference in some with the amount of mucus they experience at night. Many members have said that their nighttime mucus makes them feel like they are choking while they're trying to fall asleep. Managing mucus can be frustrating, but fortunately, there are some ways to decrease mucus production.
What helps our community members with mucus?
- “Apple cider vinegar helps. 8 oz and 1 teaspoon with honey.”
- “Jogging helped my asthma a lot because I was clearing mucus from my lungs.”
- “Using saline nasal spray daily, as well as a humidifier in my bedroom, has been so important to prevent this.”
- “I have found Mucinex to be a literal lifesaver.”
- "Doc prescribed Ipratropium Bromide which really helped."
- "I take Mucosolvan tablets to thin the phlegm with a lot of warm water to hydrate my lungs and body."
Thank you for sharing your nighttime asthma symptoms!
We appreciate all of our community members that took the time to share their experiences with nighttime asthma symptoms.
How often do you experience a shortage in your asthma medication?