Reviewed by David Tinkelman, MD

Worsening of asthma at night, or nocturnal asthma, 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

  • Decreased effect of medications during early morning hours

  • Sleep apnea - brief, repetitive cessation of breathing during sleep caused by an upper airway obstruction


Treatment and Management

Treatment of any underlying causes of nocturnal asthma should help you be able to sleep through the night without asthma symptoms. Controlling allergen exposure in the bedroom, treating sinusitis and/or post-nasal drip and gastroesophageal reflux can minimize nighttime symptoms. Your doctor may need to adjust the type and timing of medications to give extra protection during the night.

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