Tips To Sleep Better With Asthma
Millions of people are affected byor nighttime asthma. Symptoms include a tight chest, coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, and they make sleep impossible. You end up feeling tired and
Millions of people are affected bynocturnal asthma,Verified SourceNational Library of Medicine Worlds largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View sourceor nighttime asthma. Symptoms include a tight chest, coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, and they make sleep impossible. You end up feeling tired and irritable the next day and have difficulty controlling daytime asthma symptoms.
Asthma symptoms are stronger at night for a few reasons, including higher exposure to dust mites and other allergens. Plus, lying flat on your back increases post-nasal drip, triggering an asthma attack. These two things can make sleeping tough. But dont worrywere here to help. In our article, we share 7 tips to sleep better with asthma so you can get undisturbed shuteye.
Goodbye To Nocturnal Triggers
Whatever triggers your asthma symptoms during the day could also become problematic at night. Dust mites are known to exacerbate night-time asthma symptoms, and they love to get buried in the bedcovers. So, its a good idea to vacuum every corner of your bedroom regularly and to wash your bedding on a high heat.
Is the temperature in your room too hot or too cold? For some people temperature can be a night-time trigger. If youre experiencing a dry cough, you could consider installing a humidifier. Another common night trigger can be a high pollen count but thats easily fixed by keeping windows shut firmly and taking an allergy medication.
Symptoms And Dangers Of Nocturnal Asthma
The chances of having asthma symptoms is higher during sleep. Nocturnal asthma symptoms of a tight chest, shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing accompanied by sleep disturbance is commonplace, but serious. Most deaths related to asthma happen during the nighttime.
A child with nocturnal asthma is chronically sleepy during the daytime making them more susceptible to falling asleep at school, suffering from decreased concentration and performance. In addition, when a child is overtired, they can be cranky and misbehave.
Parents are likely sleep deprived too, so speak with Kids First Pediatrics of Raeford and Fayetteville about specific treatments for nocturnal asthma.
No one knows exactly why it is worse during sleep, but there are some known triggers.
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Breathe Easier Sleep Better
We all know how hard it is to sleep with a cold or a persistent cough. Good sleep equals healthy and clear air passages. Yet, even gravity has an effect on night-time breathing. When we lie down flat, our chest area naturally collapses into a more relaxed state but this can put pressure on the lungs. If its comfortable for you, try propping yourself up on a higher pillow as you sleep.
Some asthma sufferers also benefit from Positive Expiratory Pressure, or PEP, which involves exhaling into a mask or bottle. This helps remove mucus and enlarge the airways and should be done at least 1 to 2 hours before you go to bed.
Consider testing for sleep apnea. People with asthma are at greater risk for sleep apnea, and both disorders could adversely influence each other. Sleep apnea causes breaks in your sleep breathing, which can worsen your symptoms.
Other Tips For Sleeping With Asthma
Other ways to reduce asthma symptoms at night include:
- Cut down on allergens in your bedroom. Consider using an air purifier next to your bed and keep airflow in your room through the night.
- Wash your bedding in hot water every 1-2 weeks to get rid of dust mites and other irritants that may be on your sheets.
- Consider switching to bedding made of natural cotton, as opposed to synthetic polyester depending on your allergies.
- Keep pets off your bed, especially when youre in it.
- Keep asthma medication on your nightstand or another easily accessible place, and take them as directed by your doctor.
- Set the thermostat in your bedroom slightly higher in the evenings. Sleeping in a cold environment can be an asthma trigger.
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Why Is Asthma Worse At Night
If you have asthma, you may notice that your symptoms are worse during certain times of the day. For example, some people have worse asthma symptoms during the spring or experience asthma exacerbations when it’s cold outside.
But for some, asthma symptoms may be especially bothersome at night. An increase in coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath can develop just as you try to get some sleep.
An increase in asthma symptoms at night can make it difficult to get proper rest, leaving you fatigued the next day. If asthma symptoms often flareup at night, you may end up with sleep deprivation, which can affect work or school, as well as your overall health.
Understanding why asthma may become worse at night and what you can do may help you get the sleep you need.
Asthma Symptoms Does It Really Get Worse At Night
Have you wondered if the night time air can make your symptoms worse?
Do you sometimes go into an intense coughing fit while you are sleeping? Do you sometimes feel short of breath with little or no physical activity? When you breathe, do you sound wheezy? These are all serious breathing problems.
Asthma is a serious condition that can affect people of any age or gender. You must be vigilant regarding your symptoms, and be certain to consult good doctors in regards to your condition. This article will show you some simple ways you can reduce your asthma symptoms, thus lowering your chances of a serious attack.
But before you self-diagnose, it is best to talk with your doctor. If you have not been diagnosed with asthma, you might find shortness of breath alarming. It can be slightly bothersome or stop you in your tracks. Be aware that some of these symptoms are also signs for other illnesses.
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When To See The Doctor
A good rule of thumb is you should visit your doctor if you have asthma and you wake up in the night more than once per week after using treatments. Your doctor can evaluate what may be causing your symptoms and help modify your treatment plan. Checking your breath in a peak flow meter at night may also be helpful.
If you are not diagnosed with asthma but have asthma-like symptoms at night, you should report the episodes to your doctor. While you may not have asthma, your doctor can point you in the right direction for treatment.
Use Both A Humidifier And An Air Purifier
Dry air can worsen asthma symptoms by irritating the throat and nasal passages, and allergens in the air can cause sneezing and morning congestion. Without humidifiers and air purifiers, youre more likely to wake up with a sore throat or post-nasal drip, since the body overproduces mucus to protect passageways from debris. Investing in a humidifier and air purifier means more moisture in the air and less chance of irritation to the nose and throat.
Talk with a healthcare provider first before buying either of these devices. A humidifier can sometimes increase dust mites in the bedroom because it provides an ideal living environment. Air purifiers do balance those out, but some people, depending on the severity of their asthma, may want to avoid humidifiers entirely.
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Does Steam Or Vaporizer Reduce Chances Of An Asthma Attack At Night
Generally, steam or vaporizer can liquefy mucus when breathing problems are caused by an allergy or cold. This can help a person feel better. On the other hand, asthma is caused by chronic inflammation of the airways, making it difficult to breathe. Steam or vaporizer can cause irritations and worsen breathing problems.
Lie On Your Left Side With A Pillow Between Your Legs
If youre a side sleeper with asthma, lying on your left side may help particularly if you have gastroesophageal reflux, also known as heartburn, which can trigger asthma especially at night. Sleeping on your left side uses gravity, the shape of the stomach, and the angle of the connection between it and the esophagus,which can reduce reflux. Lying on your left side with your head elevated may be enough to keep you comfortable through the night, but if its not, experiment by adding a pillow between your legs.
Adding the pillow may keep your spine stable throughout the night and may improve your sleep posture, which can help you breathe easily.
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What Types Of Asthma Are There
Healthcare providers identify asthma as intermittent or persistent . Persistent asthma can be mild, moderate or severe. Healthcare providers base asthma severity on how often you have attacks. They also consider how well you can do things during an attack.
Asthma can be:
- Allergic: Some peoples allergies can cause an asthma attack. Molds, pollens and other allergens can cause an attack.
- Non-allergic: Outside factors can cause asthma to flare up. Exercise, stress, illness and weather may cause a flare.
So How Do You Stop Asthma Symptoms At Night
Theres a really simple trick to combat nighttime asthma. It started working immediately for me in fact, not only did it help at night, but overall it had a noticeable effect on my daytime symptoms, too.
The miracle cure is putting medical tape over your lips when you go to sleep, or wearing an anti-snoring chin strap to keep your mouth shut. Yes, its that simple.
This trick for asthma at night comes to us from Buteyko, and if you havent heard of Buteyko, I know this sounds a little weird!
Buteykos major tenet is that asthma is caused by overbreathing.
Just like you can over-eat, you can over-breathe. Over-breathing creates chronic hyperventilation, which is very bad for your long-term health and for your asthma.
A major culprit in over-breathing is breathing through your mouth. Breathing through your mouth is reeealllly bad for asthma.
Now, you may think that you always breathe through your nose and during the day, you probably do.
But when youre asleep its a different story.
I guess because you get more congested at night, youre apt to unconsciously start breathing through your mouth while you sleep. I know I did.
If you ever wake up with a sore throat or dry mouth, thats a sure sign your mouth was open.
So putting tape over your lips is going to prevent you from mouth breathing at night, and this, in my experience, will keep your symptoms at bay.
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What Is An Asthma Action Plan
Your healthcare provider will work with you to develop an asthma action plan. This plan tells you how and when to use your medicines. It also tells you what to do if your asthma gets worse and when to seek emergency care. Understand the plan and ask your healthcare provider about anything you dont understand.
Nocturnal Asthma Medical Treatment
There is no cure for nocturnal asthma, although there are treatments to get it under control. Discuss your symptoms with your GP or asthma nurse and they will be able to recommend the best treatment plan for you. Medical treatment for nighttime asthma could include:
- Preventer inhaler. This delivers a dose of steroid medicine that you breathe in to damp down inflammation and swelling in the airways. Using a preventer inhaler regularly builds up protection so you are less sensitive to triggers. Good day-time control of your asthma will reduce flare-ups at night.
- Reliever inhaler. This delivers a dose of fast-acting medicine such as salbutamol that will open up the airways and help relieve the symptoms of nocturnal asthma. Keep it beside your bed so you can use it as soon as you have an attack at night.
- Combination inhalers. If your other inhalers are not helping, you might need a combination inhaler that mixes the medication and stops symptoms occurring while also providing relief if they do occur.
- Leukotriene Receptor Antagonists . This medicine is given in tablet-form and sometimes used in addition to inhalers to help with severe asthma symptoms and night-time attacks.
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Your Gp Or Asthma Nurse Can Help Your Asthma Symptoms
Theres a lot your GP or asthma nurse can do to help stop symptoms building up to an asthma attack. Book an appointment now to get the support you need to lower your risk.
Your GP/asthma nurse can:
- Talk to you about why your asthma symptoms have got worse
- Check youre taking your preventer medicine every day. If you havent been taking it regularly, they can suggest ways to get into a good routine with it so its easier to remember.
- Look at your inhaler technique to make sure youre getting the medicine you need
- Suggest a higher dose, or more puffs, of your preventer inhaler for a while
More Sleep Hygiene Tips
I realize that not everyone is going to want to try taping their mouth shut, at least at first blush. Thats why Ive enlisted my wife Emma, a reformed insomniac, to share whats helped her sleep better.
Since the best way to treat asthma is through lifestyle changes, improving your sleep hygiene in general might have a bigger impact on your symptoms that youd expect!
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Side Effects Of Relievers And Preventers
Relievers are a safe and effective medicine, and have few side effects as long as they are not used too much. The main side effects include a mild shaking of the hands , headaches and muscle cramps. These usually only happen with high doses of reliever inhaler and usually only last for a few minutes.
Preventers are very safe at usual doses, although they can cause a range of side effects at high doses, especially with long-term use.
The main side effect of preventer inhalers is a fungal infection of the mouth or throat . You may also develop a hoarse voice and sore throat.
Using a spacer can help prevent these side effects, as can rinsing your mouth or cleaning your teeth after using your preventer inhaler.
Your doctor or nurse will discuss with you the need to balance control of your asthma with the risk of side effects, and how to keep side effects to a minimum.
Tips To Prevent Nighttime Asthma Attacks
Nighttime asthma attacks can be controlled. Take these steps to sleep better with severe asthma.
Many people with severe asthma find that symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and breathlessness are worse at night. There are a number of reasons why this is so, says Sonali Bose, MD, an assistant professor in the division of medicine, pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
Some key factors that contribute to nighttime asthma attacks include:
- Your bodys internal clock. Your circadian rhythm causes some of your hormone levels to fall at night. Lower levels of hormones can cause your airways to narrow slightly. These narrowed airways can exacerbate your asthma symptoms, according to the Asthma Society of Canada .
- Dust mites. Your pillows, blankets, and mattress can all be a haven for these microscopic insect-like pests and their waste. Allergies to dust mites can worsen asthma, and you could be wallowing in them as you sleep, according to the ASC.
- Gravity. When you lie down, your chest and lungs naturally experience extra pressure, the ASC says.
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How Is Nocturnal Asthma Treated
There is no cure for nighttime asthma, but daily asthma medications, such as inhaled steroids, are very effective at reducing inflammation and preventing nocturnal symptoms. Since nocturnal asthma or nighttime asthma may occur anytime during the sleep period, asthma treatment must be sufficient to cover these hours. A long-acting bronchodilator delivered in an asthma inhaler can be effective in preventing bronchospasm and symptoms of asthma. If you suffer from nocturnal asthma, you may also benefit from a long-acting inhaled corticosteroid. If you suffer with GERD and asthma, ask your doctor about medication that reduces acid production in the stomach. Avoidance of potential allergy triggers such as dust mites, animal dander, or feathers in a down comforter may also be very helpful in preventing allergies and asthma and nocturnal asthma attacks.
In addition, using your peak flow meter, you can monitor how your lung function is altered throughout the day and night. Once you notice this altered pattern of lung function, talk with your doctor about a plan to resolve your nighttime asthma symptoms. According to your type of asthma and asthma severity , your doctor can prescribe treatment to help you resolve your nighttime asthma symptoms so you can sleep like a baby.
What Are Common Asthma Attack Triggers
An asthma attack happens when someone comes in contact with substances that irritate them. Healthcare providers call these substances triggers. Knowing what triggers your asthma makes it easier to avoid asthma attacks.
For some people, a trigger can bring on an attack right away. Sometimes, an attack may start hours or days later.
Triggers can be different for each person. But some common triggers include:
- Air pollution: Many things outside can cause an asthma attack. Air pollution includes factory emissions, car exhaust, wildfire smoke and more.
- Dust mites: You cant see these bugs, but they are in many homes. If you have a dust mite allergy, they can cause an asthma attack.
- Exercise: For some people, exercising can cause an attack.
- Mold: Damp places can spawn mold. It can cause problems for people with asthma. You dont even have to be allergic to mold to have an attack.
- Pests: Cockroaches, mice and other household pests can cause asthma attacks.
- Pets: Your pets can cause asthma attacks. If youre allergic to pet dander , breathing in the dander can irritate your airways.
- Tobacco smoke: If you or someone in your home smokes, you have a higher risk of developing asthma. The best solution is to quit smoking.
- Strong chemicals or smells.
With asthma, you may not have all of these symptoms. You may have different signs at different times. And symptoms can change between asthma attacks.
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