What Is Nocturnal Asthma?

If you suffer from asthma, you know that there are specific conditions where your asthma symptoms are likely to be triggered, such as in a dusty room or following a strenuous workout at the gym. For some asthma patients, one of the most common triggers is sleep. Sleep-triggered asthma is often referred to as nocturnal asthma, since sleep is generally a nighttime activity. Nocturnal asthma can prevent you from getting enough sleep at night and effectively managing your asthma under other conditions.

Asthma that Becomes Worse at Night

Though more research is needed to fully confirm the causes of nocturnal asthma, there are a few suspected causes that can trigger wheezing, coughing, and general trouble breathing as you try to sleep.

  • Reclining Position – When you lie down, your airway becomes tighter, so there is increased resistance as you breathe. Additionally, a reclined position in bed can decrease lung volume and cause secretions to pool from draining sinuses or a post-nasal drip. For some asthma patients, sleeping upright or with more support under the upper back can help to relieve nighttime symptoms.
  • Increased Allergen Exposure – Your bed may be a hot spot for allergens, such as dust mites and pet hair, which can be asthma triggers. You might also find that irritation occurs if you sleep with the air conditioning running, because your HVAC system may also harbor lots of allergens, and colder air can cause conditions similar to those that trigger exercise-induced asthma.
  • Hormonal Changes During Sleep – It’s not just the surrounding physical environment that can lead to nocturnal asthma. When you sleep, your body’s hormonal production fluctuates, so you have the lowest levels of epinephrine as well as the highest levels of histamine in the body, raising the risk for an allergic or asthmatic reaction.

Treatment that Takes Place During the Day

If you suffer from nocturnal asthma, it’s important to have a long-term asthma medication along with a fast-acting inhaler. Managing your symptoms more effectively during the day could reduce your risks at night.

For the diagnostic care and personalized treatment planning you need to keep asthma under control, visit Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM in center city Philadelphia, Blue Bell, King of Prussia, Jenkintown, Doylestown, Lansdale, Pottstown, or Collegeville, Pennsylvania. You can schedule a consultation in one of our offices by visiting us at www.allergyandasthmawellness.com or calling 1-800-86COUGH.