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How to Get Enough Sleep with an Occasional Cough

We all want a good night’s sleep, but that’s not always possible when we’re awake with an occasional cough. Since sleep is so important for our brains and bodies, a restless night can make us feel less-than-great the next morning. However, sleeping with a cough is possible with some of these tips. Learn why we need sleep and how to fall and stay asleep with an occasional cough.

Woman sleeping soundly

The Importance of Sleep

We dedicate around a third of our lives to sleep. Basically, quality sleep is an essential part of our daily routine as important as food and water. A lack of sleep can make it harder to respond to challenges in our environment and to concentrate.1

While there are a lot of things we still don’t understand about sleep, we know that sleep is necessary for certain brain functions, including how our neurons communicate. In addition to our brains, sleep affects the tissues and systems in our body, including our heart, lungs, metabolism and mood.1

Your Circadian Rhythm

Two internal biological mechanisms, our circadian rhythm and homeostasis, work together to regulate our sleep cycle. Our circadian rhythm controls our daily fluctuations in wakefulness and our body temperature, certain hormones and metabolism — if you’ve ever woken up before the sound of your alarm clock, you can thank your circadian rhythm. Your body’s biological clock, which roughly follows the 24-hour day, controls your circadian rhythm. In addition, your circadian rhythm synchronizes with your environment and adjusts your wakefulness according to things like light, darkness and temperature.1

Sleep and Your Immune System

Lack of sleep can negatively impact your immune system.2 In fact, studies show that lacking enough or quality sleep can put you at a higher risk for getting sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold. Studies also show that a lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can delay your recovery time and make it harder to get over an illness.2

When you’re sleeping, your body releases proteins known as cytokines.2 Some of these cytokines help you fall asleep, while others start to fight off infections, inflammation and stress. Depriving yourself of sleep can reduce some of these important cytokines, meaning they can’t do their job properly.2

Additionally, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during extended periods of poor sleep.1 The white blood cells that fight infection—T-cells—are distributed to your lymph nodes while you sleep and begin to fight off infected cells.3 If you go without sleep for too long, all these mechanisms of your immune system take a hit. As a result, the likelihood of getting sick increases.3

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep with an Occasional Cough

We know that sleep is important for our overall health and wellness, but it’s hard to fall asleep with an occasional cough. The next time your cough keeps you awake, soothe yourself and promote quality sleep with these tips:1,4,5,6,7

  • Cool your room down. Make sure your room is warm but not overheated for optimal comfort.
  • Add a humidifier. Moistening the air with a humidifier can help ease your occasional cough. Clean your humidifier carefully to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria.
  • Take a warm shower. No humidifier? Take a relaxing shower before bed.
  • Take a spoonful of honey. Honey might help loosen your cough, however; it’s not suitable for children under one.
  • Power down early. Studies show that the blue light in our cell phones has the power to disturb our sleep. Try winding down screen-free with a good book or a meditation.
  • Create a calming environment. Keep your room dark and quiet before you hit the pillow. If needed, try using room-darkening shades, earplugs or a white noise machine.
  • Try a calming technique. Explore different calming activities to see if they promote better sleep, such as journaling or deep breathing.
  • Keep a glass of water on your nightstand. Reach for water when you have an irritating tickle in your throat.
  • Don’t lie in bed awake. If you can’t fall asleep, try reading or listening to something soothing until you get tired.
  • Avoid sleep-disrupting substances late in the day, such as caffeine and alcohol.
  • Try a Robitussin Naturals Cough + Sleep Dietary supplement to help promote better sleep.*

Robitussin Naturals Cough + Sleep Dietary Supplement is the perfect solution for when your occasional cough is keeping you awake.†* Relieve your occasional cough with naturally-sourced ivy leaf, and promote quality sleep with non-naturally derived melatonin.†* Robitussin Naturals are free of drugs, alcohol, dye and artificial flavors and colors. If the little ones experience an occasional cough, try Robitussin Naturals Children Cough + Sleep!†*

†Ivy leaf relieves occasional cough associated with hoarseness, dry throat and irritants; non-naturally derived melatonin for occasional sleeplessness*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Source Citations:

  1. Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Accessed 12/5/22.
  2. Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick? - Mayo Clinic. Accessed 6/17/22.
  3. Can Sleep Help Fight Off a Cold? American Sleep Association. Accessed 6/17/22.
  4. Common cold - Diagnosis and treatment. Mayo Clinic. Accessed 6/17/22.
  5. Cough. When to see a doctor. Mayo Clinic. Accessed 6/17/22.
  6. Blue light has a dark side. Harvard Health. Accessed 6/17/22.
  7. Sleep tips: 6 steps to better sleep. Mayo Clinic. Accessed 6/17/22.
  • Robitussin Naturals Cough are DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS. †Ivy leaf relieves occasional cough and helps clear mucus associated with hoarseness, dry throat and irritants; non-naturally derived zinc (Immune Health liquid) and vitamin C (Immune Health Gummies) support a healthy immune system; non-naturally derived melatonin for occasional sleeplessness (Sleep liquid).*
  • **True Source Honey is ethically and transparently sourced. Click here to learn more
  • ^Read more about our non-GMO standard. here
  • This product contains the active ingredients Dextromethorphan.
  • *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
  • Use as Directed.