Getting enough sleep is tough enough without a nagging cough that wakes you up. Medications work but can leave you feeling groggy the next day. If you’re struggling to get quality slumber because of a stubborn cough, try these 7 instant remedies.
Add Another Pillow
Troublesome nighttime coughs can be due to post-nasal drip. During the day, mucous passes unobstructed from your nose down the back of your throat, but when reclining, thick secretions tend to pool in the pharynx, triggering the unavoidable cough reflex. Simply elevating your head is often to help post-nasal drip flow smoothly.
Run a Humidifier in the Bedroom
Adding moisture to the air in your bedroom tackles both dry and wet coughs. It soothes scratchy irritation, but also helps thin excess mucous from the nose or lungs, quieting the cough reflex. For best results, run it for a full half hour before bedtime and clean it regularly to avoid the growth of mold in the water reservoir.
Honey has a host of anecdotal cough suppressant properties, but its real value may lie in its ability to coat a sore throat. Add a tablespoon to a glass of warm milk or thin it with a little water and swallow. Alternatively, try honey-infused cough drops or lozenges. Always consult your pediatrician before giving young children honey.
Drink Warm Tea
Tea contains tannin that causes mucous membranes to constrict, decreasing the output of secretions. The warming action of tea also helps relax irritated tissue in the throat and its antioxidants are an immunity-boosting bonus. Gargle with it four times daily or drink a cup of a decaffeinated variety before bedtime. For a double whammy, add a tablespoon of soothing honey.
Pineapple contains bromelain, a time-honored home remedy that loosens mucous and calms a cough. This enzyme is a traveler favorite for relieving cough at high altitudes and it works just as well at sea level. Eat a thick slice three to four times daily or add a few ounces of pineapple juice to your favorite beverage. Be sure to use only 100% pure juice for the best results.
A common ingredient in over-the-counter top congestion-relieving chest rubs, eucalyptus is a proven cough tamer. Steam imbued with it clears sinuses, making it easier to breathe and inhaling its vapors soothes irritated airways. Try it in a topical rub or add a few drops of its essential oil to a steamy shower or bedside humidifier.
The menthol in peppermint acts as a decongestant. It helps break up mucous, soothing irritated throats and can help clear stuffed nasal passages. Cough drops with menthol are popular, but like eucalyptus, adding drops of essential oil to a warm shower creates a gentle, penetrating vapor. As an added bonus, it’s relaxing, too.
If a stubborn cough is robbing you of precious sleep, these seven simple home remedies can put you back on a restful path, but if your cough worsens or doesn’t improve, it could signal something serious. Don’t take chances — call your doctor.