Why does cough & congestion get worse at night?

Written by daniel cobalt
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Why does cough & congestion get worse at night?
Smoking or irritants can increase night coughing. (an ashtray and smoking cigarette image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com)

Depending on the cause, coughing and congestion can get worse at night especially if lying down. Because coughing and congestion can be a simple allergy or a life-threatening illness, it is important to determine the reason.

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Your cough may be worse when you lie down due to congestive heart disease, left ventricle heart disease or other issues. Another symptom of heart disease is swelling in your legs.


A cold, influenza, allergies and other illnesses can cause nasal congestion, which is often the reason for nighttime coughing. When you are up, swallowing and moving help to keep nasal drainage reduced. At night when you lie down or are less active, all types of nasal congestion may increase.


Irritants in your throat and airways cause coughing. Cigarettes, chemicals and allergic reaction to things such as feather pillows, dust mites or pollen may cause nasal congestion. Dry air where you sleep or spend time at night may cause throat irritation and coughing.

Why does cough & congestion get worse at night?
Bedding can contain many allergens. (bed. pillow and duvet.bed head. image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com)


Dastroesophageal reflux disease may cause coughing at night from acid irritation in your oesophagus, according to MedicineNet.


Lung disease, such as cancer or pneumonia, may be worse when you lie down causing more congestion and coughing especially at night.


See your doctor for congestion and coughing that persists, produces bloody or coloured mucus or if the cause is unknown.

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