Whether it's because of a cold or allergies, coughing at night is not only annoying, it prevents you from getting the sleep you need to stay healthy. Before you down cough medicine (which often just masks the cough), you might want to relieve your nighttime cough with one of these natural remedies.
- Steam up: Before hitting the hay, create a steam room in the bathroom. Shut the door, don't turn on the fan, and take a hot shower. Let the water gently run on your face, or if that's too intense, place a warm washcloth on your sinuses, allowing the heat and steam to help relieve sinus congestion. You can even use a neti pot in the shower — just be sure to fill it with warm distilled or sterilized water, not the shower water. Using a neti pot after you've breathed in steam can make it more effective.
- Get moist: Since dry air can often cause a dry cough (especially in the Winter months when we crank up the heat), moisten the air you breathe by running a cool-mist humidifier on low throughout the night (I'm a fan of this humidifier from Crane). In the morning, be sure to wipe down your windows and windowsills as condensation tends to form, and you don't want this moisture to encourage mold growth, which can also aggravate a cough. Follow the directions that came with your humidifier when it comes to cleaning it, and disinfect it thoroughly at least once a week to avoid mold growth.
- Hydrate: Be sure to keep a water bottle on your nightstand. Sometimes a few sips of water is all it takes to get relief from a nagging cough. A water bottle is better than a glass as it can't spill if you accidentally knock it over, and the closed container will keep your aqua clean and dust-free.
- Give props: If you suffer from postnasal drip, the tickle in the back of your throat can cause a persistent cough. Propping your torso up with a few pillows can help decrease some of the dripping. Keeping your head elevated can also relieve congestion, so it's doubly helpful.
- Replace your pillow: How old are your current pillows? If you have no idea, it's time to buy some new ones. Pillows are breeding grounds for dust mites, and if allergies cause your cough, you'll want to rest your head on a dust-free surface. Splurge on pillow protectors, too, so dust mites can't penetrate the new ones you buy.