Tell us about your symptoms and treatment experience. Take our survey here.

Can Sleeping Propped Up Help Asthma?

COVID finally got me, and my lungs are not happy. I have been needing breathing treatments every 4 hours...around the clock. Ugh!

That is in addition to needing my daily controller inhaler every morning and every night. I often need a breathing treatment first to calm my cough long enough to allow me to use my controller inhaler. I know it is important not to miss any doses of my controller inhaler because it will keep the swelling down in my lungs.

I also have to take back-to-back courses of prednisone and an antiviral. In fact, I have so many supplies to treat this infection that I loaded up a big tray to corral my vials of Albuterol, cough drops, tissues, prednisone, antiviral, thermometer, etc.

But the hardest part of being sick with a respiratory infection is trying to sleep. You probably know what I mean. When you are coughing so hard that you almost throw up. And your ribs and stomach are so sore from coughing that you end up in tears.

What my family has learned from experience

I was glad my kids didn’t get COVID. Yes, they are adults now, but I don’t stop worrying about them and their asthma. Why do I worry so much?

When my kids were young, they were in the hospital 12 times (and 2 of those involved admissions to an intensive care unit). When they get sick, they get really sick, really fast.

One thing my family learned over the years is that it’s easier for us to sleep if we are propped up. We noticed that if we would lay down flat, the coughing would start with a vengeance. But if we sat upright, we could breathe better.

Sleeping propped up to help with asthma

When my kids were little, our asthma doctor would tell me to roll up a beach towel and put that under the head of the mattress to prop it up. It seemed to make it easier for my kids to breathe. But I worried about them rolling out of bed, so we used a gate on the side of their bed.

For me, I sleep propped up in the corner of our sectional couch. I can’t find any other way to prop myself up so I can sleep and breathe at the same time.

Some people have asked me why I don’t sleep propped up on a pile of pillows in bed too? Well, I am notoriously uncoordinated, and I don’t want to chance rolling off the bed and hitting the floor. Sound unlikely?

Well...last summer I tripped while walking up the patio stairs, got a severe concussion, and missed a week of work. That’s how uncoordinated I am.

We have a recliner, so I tried sleeping in that too. But it wasn’t as soft as my sectional and I couldn’t seem to get comfortable.

I am propped up in the corner of the sectional, so I won’t accidentally roll off the couch. I’m breathing better. If this is anything like pneumonia, I know it will take me about a month to get the swelling down in my lungs and get rid of the horrible cough.

So, until then, I’ll enjoy having the living room (and TV and remote control) all to myself! Ha!

Has anyone else found a good way to sleep propped up?

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Are your spring allergies already impacting your asthma?