7 Tips to Prevent Nighttime Asthma Attacks

Millions of people have nighttime asthma, also called "nocturnal asthma." Some of the symptoms that may make life unbearable for many people are tightness in the chest, coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. You might feel tired and irritable the next day, and you might have trouble controlling your asthma during the day.

There are many reasons why asthma symptoms get worse at night, but one of the most common is that allergens like dust and mites are more likely to be around. Resting flat on your back, which also makes postnasal drip worse, can bring on an asthma attack. Each of these things could make it hard to sleep. Don't worry, though, help is close by. This post shows you 7 ways to get a better night's sleep if you have asthma.

Why Is Nighttime Asthma Worse?

Nighttime asthma attacks are common, yet their causes are complex. Bedding is a popular place for allergens and dust mites to congregate, making it difficult to get to sleep or even triggering asthma attacks in the middle of the night. Postnasal drip buildup when lying down to sleep also contributes to the resistance in the lungs' airways.

Asthmatics may find it more challenging to breathe when lying down because of the increased pressure on the chest and lungs. Last but not least, many individuals reduce the temperature in their houses before bed, but this practice might exacerbate asthma symptoms since the air is cooler and heat is lost from the airways.

Tips To Prevent Nighttime Asthma Attack

Try these tips to get a better night's rest with asthma instead of tossing, turning, coughing, and wheezing every night.

Regularly Clean your Bedroom

You should clean and wash the surfaces in your bedroom often because the dust that builds up there can get into the air. When fans are turned on at night, ceiling fan blades can quickly spread dust all over a room, so checking these often-overlooked spots is important. Regular cleaning can also help stop the buildup of irritants that could trigger asthma attacks at night.

Cover your Pillows and Mattress with Dust-Proof Sheets

You can use regular pillowcases and sheets, but you can also use tightly woven dust-proof zippered covers to keep dust mites from getting into or out of your mattress and pillows. Research by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences shows that these covers are one of the best ways to reduce the number of dust mites in bedrooms.

Repeat Weekly Bedding Washes

If possible, sheets and blankets should be washed in hot water once a week. A wash in water at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit can kill almost all germs and allergies. After being washed, the linens should be dried on the highest heat setting. The high heat kills allergens and bacteria, making the material sterile.

Wait until the sheets are completely dry before returning them to the bed. Most asthma attacks happen at night because mold and mildew grow on damp beds.

Close Windows

Pollen, dust mites, and even animal dander can all be found in the air outside, which can irritate the lungs. This could cause someone to have an asthma attack. Even if your asthma is under control, many sleep problems can still mess up your circadian rhythm and make it hard to fall asleep or wake up at a time that isn't natural. It is recommended that everyone pay close attention to how they sleep and have a routine, like getting up around the same time every day, to keep their circadian rhythms from getting in the way of their sleep.

Use humidifiers & Air Purifiers

Airborne allergens can make your eyes itch and your nose run in the morning, and dry air can worsen asthma by irritating your throat and nose. The body makes too much mucus to protect the airways from dust and dirt. Without humidifiers and air purifiers, you may wake up with a sore throat or post-nasal drip. If you buy a humidifier and an air purifier, you can get more moisture in the air and less pain in your nose and throat.

Before you buy either of these, you should talk to a medical professional. A humidifier in the bedroom may help you reduce the growth of dust mites because it makes the room more comfortable. Even though air purifiers help with this, people with severe asthma might not want to use humidifiers.

If you have asthma, should you sleep with a fan on? If you do, be careful because the fan's air could stir up dust and other allergens that have settled in the room. You can reduce the chance that a fan will bother your senses, though, by using it with a filter or purifier.

Check for Sleep Apnea

People with asthma have a greater chance of getting sleep apnea. Snoring is caused by asthma congestion, which can even make it hard to breathe for a short time. Talk to your doctor about getting tested for sleep apnea if you wake up tired, irritable, and achy, even though you get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.

If sleep apnea isn't treated, it can cause a lot of daytime sleepiness and other serious health problems, like insomnia and acid reflux, if left untreated.

Avoid Strong Scents During Sleeping

When used at night, perfumes and other strong smells from air fresheners, candles, and plug-ins may irritate the nasal passages and cause asthma attacks. Some people who already have trouble breathing have asthma flare up when they smell a perfume with a strong scent.

You can make asthma attacks at night less severe by not using these triggers in your bedroom and, if you share a bed, by talking to your bed partner about the benefits of not using perfume and taking a shower before bed.


Frequent sleep disruptions brought on by nocturnal asthma symptoms negatively affect health. Asthma patients might relieve their symptoms by taking preventative measures like washing their bedding often or using a humidifier.