Pediatric Asthma: Nocturnal Asthma


Worsening of asthma at night is very common. Many factors may contribute to the increased symptoms, including:

  • Exposure to allergens in the bedroom,particularly dust mites
  • Delayed allergic response, which may occur three to eight hours after exposure
  • Chronic sinus problems and/or post-nasal drip
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Airway cooling from a drop in body temperature at night
  • Decreased effect of medications during early morning hours
  • Sleep apnea — brief, repetitive cessation of breathing during sleep caused by an upper airway obstruction

Actions You Can Take

Many children experience a worsening of their asthma symptoms at night. Treatment of any underlying causes is important. Controlling allergen exposure in the bedroom, treating sinusitis and/or post-nasal drip and gastroesophageal reflux are important for managing nighttime symptoms. Your child’s doctor may need to adjust medications to give extra protection during the night. Remember, your child should be able to sleep through the night without asthma symptoms.

More Nocturnal Asthma Information
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