Why is my copd worse at night?

Are you someone who struggles with COPD? Is breathing easy only possible during the daytime for you and night time becomes a terror? Well, keep reading because we have got all the tea on why your COPD might be worse at night!

It’s Not Just You

Firstly, understand that it’s not just about you. According to research, many people who are dealing with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) experience worsening symptoms as the sun sets. It is known as nocturnal exacerbations of COPD.

What Does ‘Nocturnal Exacerbation’ Mean?

Simply put, a nocturnal exacerbation of COPD means that your respiratory symptoms get worsened when you go to bed. This can include:

  • Worsening cough
  • More Amounts Of Mucus Formation
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath

It can lead to restlessness, sleep disturbances and decreased blood oxygen levels.


Now let’s talk about some potential causes behind this intriguing phenomenon!

Your Environment

Your sleeping environment plays an essential role in how well or how poorly you sleep. Some reasons for worse symptoms may include:

Humidity Levels In The Room

When air outside has higher moisture content than indoors/bedroom then humidity rises up which will worsen quality of breathe so always reconsider having good proper ventilation system in room/bathroom/daytime living area/fed by fresh outdoor air only otherwise high indoor air pollutant levels cause danger .

Unfiltered Airflow

The very thing that helps us stay cozy during winter nights – heaters could also actually make things worse during sleep if they are not regularly cleaned or filters changed .Heaters along with AC units should definitely be maintained properly before going off to sleep.

Biological Factors Can Cause Increase Symptoms At Night Time Too.

Alongside external factors mentioned above, biological processes could also be the underlying cause.

Inadequate Circadian Rhythm

Our body’s sleep-wake cycle is based on its circadian rhythm. This rhythm can get disrupted due to various factors like jetlag or shift work, leading to exacerbation of COPD symptoms at night and making it harder for those in irregular routines.

Diurnal Variation

Another contributing biological factor is diurnal variation where your lungs have a natural pattern of breathing – you might breathe easier in the morning around 10 am compared to evening after dinner time . So, high levels of shortness breath become worse as day goes on.

Sleeping Position Too Matters!

The way you sleep is another factor that contributes to how well you’ll rest through the night.
Sleeping position affects air exchange poorly which causes an effect during sleeping hours so when laying down more dust enters into body system than just sitting upright .

Solutions To Better Sleep Despite Exacerbation At Night

Luckily though there are ways that one could improve their bedtime experience despite fighting with this issue:

Pillows Matter

Using multiple pillows elevates head too much but if preferred try two flat pillow which will aid enough elevation and discontinue using neck/chest wraps- reduce pressure points away from tiny blood vessels on skin layer thus preventing any kind sore-development spots by reducing compression forces put onto vulnerable lung areas often seen when lying back.

Some respiratory therapists recommend thin soft adjustable foam wedge pillowing below torso or back in order help spine alignment relieve discomfort related with arthritis/or injury conditions while angle underlining helps oxygenated particle movement towards upper chest regions improving early/late hour breathing function benefits tremendously(that said-consult specialists first before purchasing recommended products).

Always certify bed sizes match height clean bedding indoors routinely washing sheets/towels/use for bedtime always hanging mattress take benefit sunshine’s beneficial effects on bacteria growth reduction continually changing without drastically altering basic comfort zones affecting quality downtime guarantee life savings.

Maintaining Lung Function Through Breathing Exercises

If you’re struggling with COPD, there are some breathing exercises that can help maintain lung function and enhance oxygen flow to the lungs.
COPD warm-up exercise which includes:

  • Taking short forceful expiration of air through puckered lips for five times;
  • Deep inhale with amount inhaled held for some time followed up another exhale (use pursed-lips technique)
    While it might not cure your symptoms completely, these exercises have proven benefits when it comes minimizing exacerbations.


All said and done – whether you’re suffering from COPD will last a lifetime or just passing by an acute phase ,be assured that night-time exacerbation is something most can expect at some point but never forget proper bedding conditions/exercises/sleep hours should be brought in as a normal routine always reducing worse situations only to guarantee comfort during bedtime even if rest may be interrupted sometimes.
Keep calm, breathe easy!

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