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How to Stop Uncontrollable Coughing At Night

Medically reviewed by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Ruby Anne Hornillos · Updated Oct 05, 2020

How to Stop Uncontrollable Coughing At Night

Sleep is an important part of the day as it allows your body to repair and recuperate. But what happens if you are unable to get some quality sleep? This may be due to several factors such as insomnia, caffeine, and even an uncontrollable cough. Find out how to stop uncontrollable coughing at night and its causes.

What are the causes of uncontrollable coughing at night? 

how to stop uncontrollable coughing at night

An uncontrollable cough is highly inconvenient, and when it becomes persistent, it can have a negative effect on your health. 

Coughing can be voluntary or involuntary, and it is a means to expel foreign particles, irritants, fluids, and the like, from your respiratory system.

Many health and environmental issues can trigger coughing. Some of these are:

  • Allergies. This is one of the more common causes of coughing, and it comes in many forms, from hay fever to allergic reactions to dust.
  • A runny nose from the common cold, sinusitis, or flu can lead to mucus tickling the back of your throat, which can make you cough.
  • Asthma can make the air tubes in the lungs constrict, which can lead to mucus build-up and make it difficult for you to breathe.
  • Acid from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or heartburn can affect the passage from the stomach to the mouth.
  • Smoking introduces toxins to the lungs, and coughing can be your body’s way of getting rid of the impurities from your airways.
  • Certain medication that regulate blood pressure can lead to some people developing persistent dry cough.

What is a Dry Cough and Should I Be Worried About It?

While coughing is a normal and typical response, it becomes problematic and uncomfortable when it develops into a painful and persistent condition.

There are instances when coughing disrupts sleep, which leads to many health implications.

Read on to understand how to stop uncontrollable coughing at night.

How to stop uncontrollable coughing at night

Uncontrollable cough is inconvenient, and in some severe cases, can interfere with your daily function. Explore these tips to reduce your coughing and ease your breathing.

Use humidifiers or vaporizers

When the humidity level of a room drops to 30%, this results in dry air. Dry air from air conditioning or heating systems can worsen a cough. To combat this, plug in a cool-mist humidifier or a steam vaporizer to increase the moisture level in your room.

Humidifiers create mist from cold or room-temperature water, while vaporizers heat water and release it as steam. Humidifiers are better for homes that have children or elderly parents, because the extreme heat of the vaporizer may cause accidents. 

But it’s important to note that too much moisture may also lead to mold growth, which is also an allergen. 

Tips to Improve Air Quality at Home: What to Avoid

If your humidifier or vaporizer allows it, add essential oils for added aromatherapy to help ease your cough.

Various studies have shown that eucalyptus, cinnamon, rosemary, nutmeg, cypress, thyme, geranium, peppermint, and lavender can help with some breathing issues, including coughing.

This is a particularly effective method when it comes to how to stop uncontrollable coughing at night. 

Remove allergens

It helps to remove or reduce allergens that cause nighttime coughing like mold, dust, or pet hair. 

  • Vacuum regularly with a filter that uses High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration. The filter can trap even microscopic allergens. Safely throw it away after cleaning.
  • Throw away books, magazines, and other things that may collect dust. You may keep books beside your bed and magazines for display, but regularly wipe the dust off these surfaces. 
  • Change beddings regularly and wash the used ones in hot water which can help kill bacteria, mold, and other viruses.
  • Take a shower or a bath before you go to bed to remove allergens that may be stuck on your skin and clothes. 

Stay hydrated and soothe sore throats 

In addition to bathing and cleaning up before going to bed, another tip on how to stop uncontrollable coughing at night is to keep your mouth and throat hydrated. 

Hot tea or lemon water with honey is a traditional remedy for itchy or dry throat.

Honey itself has been proven to be an effective ingredient in easing cough. However, do not give honey to babies who are less than a year old, because of the risk of food poisoning.

If you do not like tea, you may gargle warm water mixed with salt to soothe an itchy throat and more easily expel phlegm. 

Phlegm Color Meanings, Decoded

Elevate your head for unobstructed breathing

To help ease breathing, when lying down, elevate your head with several pillows or a back wedge.

This is one of the more effective ways on how to stop uncontrollable coughing at night if your condition is caused by the common cold.

It allows the mucus to flow without irritating the back of your throat.

How to stop uncontrollable coughing at night: Medical interventions

If your coughing becomes severe and home remedies are no longer effective, consider scheduling a consultation with your doctor. 

Chronic Cough: What You Need to Know

The doctor may prescribe over-the-counter cough medicines, such as cough suppressants and expectorants.

Cough suppressants are good for blocking dry cough, while expectorants help eliminate mucus, which can shorten the bouts of coughing.

A saline spray may also be prescribed to decrease the dryness in your throat, thin out the mucus if you have a cold, and flush out allergens and other irritants that may be trapped in your nose.

If you have asthma, you will benefit from a prescription inhaler that can make it easier for you to breathe.

Even if some medication is available without prescription, it is better to consult your doctor. And discuss the different medications and types of treatments on how to stop uncontrollable coughing at night. 

Key Takeaways

When it comes to how to stop uncontrollable coughing at night, it helps to know possible preventive measures.

Some great examples are keeping your house clean, leading a healthy lifestyle, avoiding allergens, and adopting a bedtime hygiene routine.

Consult your doctor if your nighttime coughing persists despite at-home interventions and remedies.

Learn more about respiratory health here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Ruby Anne Hornillos · Updated Oct 05, 2020

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