Step 1Remove potential allergens from the bedroom. One reason that coughing can worsen at night is because of exposure to dust mites, feathers or other items that are likely to trigger an allergic reaction. Even if the person suffering with the cough doesn't normally react to these items, the already irritated airway may be more sensitive to exposure. Use pillowcases and mattress covers that seal in dust mites and wash all bedding. Dry the bedding in a dryer, not outside. While many people love the smell of bedding that has dried on an outside line, you are inevitably bringing in pollen and other allergens.
Step 2Drink warm beverages. Warm beverages will sooth the irritation in the throat in addition to loosening and allowing mucus to drain. A warm cup of tea or soup before bed can provide relief for several hours.
Step 3Add honey to your diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, honey can be just as effective at quieting a cough as the popular over the counter cough suppressant dextromethorphan, without any potential side effects. Add 2 tsp. to a cup of warm tea before bed to relax the throat.
Step 4Ingest or apply eucalyptus. Eucalyptus is a common ingredient in cough drops and chest rubs. It can help to relieve cough symptoms, either by sucking on a lozenge before bed or massaging a chest rub containing eucalyptus into the chest and back before retiring for the night.
Step 5Use steam to relax the airways. Steam is another way to relax and soothe the throat and ease coughing. A warm-air humidifier is one way to add steam to a room. Cool-air humidifiers add moisture, not steam, and can provide relief, as long as the person suffering from the cough is not chilling or otherwise uncomfortable with the cold mist. If you don't have a humidifier, create a steam room by running a hot shower with the exhaust fan turned off and the door to the bathroom closed. Another option is to fill a bowl with hot water and create a tent over it with a towel. The person can place his head over the hot water, under the towel, and breathe the steamy air for temporary relief.
WarningsHoney may lead to botulism poisoning in children under the age of one.
Use care with steam and young children. Their skin is sensitive and they may overheat or suffer a steam burn more easily than an adult.
TipsIf none of these options provides relief, visit a physician for one of the many effective prescription cough remedies available. They are more effective and there are fewer concerns about side effects than over-the-counter treatments.
Things You'll NeedAirtight pillow case and mattress covers
Tea or soup
Rubs or lozenges containing eucalyptus