6 Ways to Sleep Better With a Respiratory Illness

Having trouble sleeping at night? Here are 6 tips to sleep better. 


We all know that the environment can have a huge impact on how we sleep. It has even more significance when we are suffering from a respiratory illness. To avoid discomfort from allergies and coughing overnight make sure you have a dust free bedroom. Don’t allow pets to sleep on your bed or be in your bedroom at anytime as animal hair exacerbates allergy symptoms. Cold air especially from air conditioners or open windows irritates the airways and causes coughing, keeping you awake at night. Make sure the room is warm and free of humidity.  Nebulizers and CPAP equipment are always available from OnlyNebulizers.com in case therapeutic assistance is needed. 

Position in bed

The supine position or lying flat position does not allow for full lung expansion especially when you are unwell. Sleeping propped up with two or more pillows behind your back, raising your head, will help you to breath easier meaning you can sleep better. Likewise, placing something under the mattress to raise the head of the bed slightly is an effective alternative to assist with increasing lung expansion.

Restrict liquids

Try and restrict drinking large volumes of liquids or drinks in the hours before bedtime. (Unless you have a medical condition requiring water intake) Caffeine is a stimulant and a diuretic meaning it can keep you awake and leave you wanting to use the bathroom overnight. Reduce caffeine intake including coffee, Coca-Cola and tea at least 4-6 hours before bedtime.


Watching TV or using the computer can over stimulate you before bed. Don’t use media devices at least one hour before sleep. Try reading a book, listening to some soothing music or take a shower just before getting into bed to help you relax. Exercise is a very important part of regulating your bodies’ hormones and sleep-wake cycles. Regular exercise can help your body relax and sleep better at night however, exercising within 3 hours of bedtime can have the opposite effect and is not recommended.

Nighttime Routine

Having a routine can help subconsciously prepare your body for rest. Do you shower before bed or do you read a book with a cup of warm milk? Whatever helps you to relax you, keep it in your nighttime routine to promote a good nights sleep. Restrict the use of the bedroom to sleep only. Even if you are restricted to bed rest, try and spend most of your time outside the bedroom on the sofa or in a spare room for example. This helps you distinguish between wake time activities and nighttime environments.


Discuss the medications you are taking with your doctor and see if they are the cause of your sleepless nights. Some nebulized respiratory medicines stimulate the body and can trigger sleep disruptions. Certain medications and medical conditions can also cause what we call in the medical world ‘nocturia’. This means that you have an urgency to urinate during the night, causing you to wake up to use the bathroom.