Remedies for a Dry Cough at Night


You’re exhausted and need shuteye more than ever, but that nagging cough just won’t allow it. You know you'll feel better after some zzz's, but how? While there's no instant fix, you can take steps to help minimize your symptoms, making way for a restful night.


Take an OTC Medication

If you have a cold, an over-the-counter medicine such as Delsym® Cough+ Night Time can help pave the way to less coughing so you can sleep better. It doesn't contain stimulants commonly found in daytime cold medicines, and helps reduce coughing and other symptoms that interfere with sleep, such as nasal congestion and body aches. Just make sure you follow dosage instructions, keeping in mind that Delsym® Night Time cold medications aren’t suitable for children under the age of 12.


Use a Humidifier

Dry air plus coughing isn't a good combo. Breathing in dry air can worsen, or may even cause, a dry cough. A humidifier can help alleviate nighttime symptoms by adding moisture to the air. While a warm-mist humidifier may seem most soothing, choose a cool-mist option for kids as the hot steam could cause burns if your child gets too close. Empty and dry the humidifier daily to keep the device clean and stave off mold and bacterial buildup.


Take a Steamy Shower

Close to a third of those surveyed by the National Sleep Foundation said a relaxing bath or shower near bedtime helped them rest easier. When you have a dry cough, this practice may invite even more perks. If you don’t have a humidifier, a warm shower can work just like it, adding moisture to the air and your throat, helping to ease your symptoms. To extend the steam benefits, linger in the bathroom afterward with the door closed.


Try a Lozenge or Herbal Tea

Lozenges containing menthol numb the back of your throat, which can help reduce the urge to cough. Just make sure you finish your cough drop before you sleep to prevent choking. Sipping hot decaffeinated tea before bed may also help by decreasing dryness in your throat. If you don't know what tea to drink, try a caffeine-free chamomile tea. Though the research is limited to how effective chamomile is in encouraging relaxation, a small clinical trial published in Molecular Medicine Report in 2010 showed that cardiac patients were able to fall into deep sleep after drinking chamomile tea.



A dry cough can make restful sleep difficult. Humidifiers, steamy showers, hot tea and OTC medications can help.





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