Coughing at night is dangerous ?

Cough is caused by irritation in the throat and respiratory tract. Cough is a protective reflex. It protects us by removing respiratory secretions and foreign objects in the respiratory tract. Coughing at night becomes a big headache if it disturbs the sleep of your relatives.

Coughing at night is caused by multiple causes. The causes that can be as simple as a flu or serious disease like heart failure.

Causes of coughing at night

Knowing causes of coughing at night is important for further tests and treatment.

Cough at night

Following are the common causes of the coughing at night.

  • Common cold
  • Pneumonia
  • Tuberculosis
  • Asthma
  • Hyper reactive airway disease
  • Allergic pharyngitis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Congestive heart failure

Common cold

Almost everyone suffers a common cold 5-8 times a year. Symptoms of common cold are running nose, feeling of blocked nose, fever, headache, watery eyes, body ache and cough. Coughing may increase at night in the common cold due to multiple factors. Usually it does not lead to many complications. You are fine in a week or two with or without treatment.


Pneumonia is an infection of the lower respiratory tract. Pneumonia can be viral, bacterial or fungal depending upon the cause of pneumonia. Symptoms of pneumonia include fever, cough difficulty in breathing, rapid breathing, chest pain and vomiting. Cough pneumonia can be constant for the day and night. Some people may experience an increased tendency of coughing at night.


Tuberculosis is a chronic infection of the lower respiratory tract caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis. The symptoms include coughing for many days, even weeks, mild grade, fever, loss of appetite and weight loss. Some people experience increased cough during the night time.


Asthma is an airway disease. Small bronchi get inflamed and their diameter is reduced in asthma. When this diameter is reduced increased resistance is produced to the moving air in the airways. The mucosa of the small gets inflamed and more secretions are produced in them. Most of the asthma attacks come during the night time. It is experienced as coughing at night.

Hyper reactive airway disease

Hyper reactive airway disease occurs in children less than 5 years of age. Like asthma in adults small bronchi get inflamed and their diameter is reduced. This phenomenon occurs because of environmental stimuli and infections. The cough is typically increased during the night time or in the early morning. Hyperreactive airway disease causes coughing at night.

Allergic pharyngitis

Allergic pharyngitis is another condition that causes coughing at night. It is inflammation of the throat from inside. This inflammation is induced by environmental factors like pollen grains. Allergy to various environmental factors causes inflammation in the pharynx. In these conditions you may experience coughing at night.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is regurgitation of the food from the stomach to the esophagus up to the mouth. Other symptoms of this disease are better or sour taste in the mouth, chest pain, throat pain and coughing.

Congestive heart failure

Heart is a pump that circulates the blood in our body. For the circulation of the blood the functioning of the heart is an essential thing. If this pump fails it is called heart failure. In congestive heart failure the blood coming from lungs to heart gets accumulated into lungs. This causes coughing which increases when you are lying down. Congestive heart failure can be one of the causes of coughing at night.

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