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Nighttime Cough Remedies

By Sarah Harding ; Updated August 14, 2017

A nighttime cough can interrupt sleep. Some cough medications taken before bed may make it difficult to fall asleep or they may cause drowsiness before bed and grogginess in the morning. Home remedies can provide temporary relief to allow you to get to sleep but they don't cure the underlying cause. Home remedies should only be attempted under the advice of a health care professional.


Warm herbal tea mixed with honey is a long-standing cold and cough remedy. More recent findings, as reported by, indicate that honey alone can be as effective as an over-the-counter cough suppressant called dextromethrophan. A few teaspoons of honey before bed may be effective in suppressing a cough and allowing sleep.


Children with a "barky" cough can benefit from steam produced by a hot shower running with the bathroom door closed, according to the Kids Health website. A cool mist humidifier can be run in the bedroom to alleviate coughing and help with sleep.

Humidity is especially helpful for a dry cough because dry air is more irritating to the throat and nasal passages during an illness. A tickle in the throat from such dryness can cause a nasty choking cough, especially when you have to resort to breathing through your mouth due to congestion.

Essential Oils

Several different essential oils can be used to create a homemade chest rub. Some oils shouldn't be placed directly on the skin but should instead be dripped onto a cloth and then placed on the chest.

The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends peppermint for thinning mucus, breaking mucus loose, calming sore throats and soothing a dry cough. Eucalyptus is similar to peppermint and can e used in the same manner. A eucalyptus ointment can also be used under the nose and on the chest to relieve congestion and loosen phlegm before bed.

Another way to reap the benefits of these essential oils is to pour them into a vaporizer, but only if the manufacturers' directions state this is safe for the machine. The oils can also be dropped into a bath or shower to allow the vapors to float into the air and be inhaled.


Consuming a hot drink before bed can sooth a cough, according to Caffeinated drinks should be avoided. Better choices include herbal teas, especially those made with eucalyptus or peppermint, or broth-based soups.

A glass of water should be kept by the bed in case of waking during the night with a choking cough. A bit of lemon in the water can help cut thick mucus if it is contributing to the cough.

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