How to Get Your Sick Kid to Stop Coughing at Night
Sickness is a natural, albeit unavoidable part of life for young kids. Every parent has tried to get their sick kid to stop coughing at some point. And at no point is this more true than at night time — kids often find that their symptoms seem to get worse as the wind down for the night. This may result in an unnecessary lack of sleep for your young ones, and as any good parent knows that sleep is the best medicine for a sick kid, getting your child back to sleep should be a top priority.
But, how can parents make kids stop coughing or sniffling like that? And why exactly do children's sicknesses seem to get worse come night time? These are questions many parents across the nation have asked, and in this article, we'll walk you through exactly why this happens, and what you can do about it as a parent.
My Child Gets Sicker at Night — Why?
If you've ever noticed that your kid's cough gets heavier at night, or they get more sniffly or congested as they begin to head to bed, you're not alone. For a couple of key reasons, kids really do become harder of breathing at night when they're sick. Those reasons are surprisingly simple, and they've got to do with what your child is doing during any given part of the day.
When they're up and about during the day, they're most likely going to be upright, either standing or sitting up straight. This position helps them stay less congested during the day, as their airways are better suited for drainage when the body is upright like that. Thanks to gravity, mucus is able to drain easier which allows for better breathing. As you're probably well aware, too, your child is much more energetic during the daytime, which also helps them stay alert and more focused on their breathing.
Contrast this to bedtime. When your child begins to wind down and start their bedtime routine, that upright position and constant motion is gone — they start lying down and/or reclining as they watch TV, use their tablet, and as they go to bed. When they do, their airways are now at an angle if not completely flat.
As this happens, gravity begins to work against them instead of with them — it traps the mucus in their airways and causes coughing, since coughing is a natural response to excess mucus buildup. This coughing does improve breathing for a few moments, but it's more often than not a very temporary help. Additionally, sleepiness can hamper breathing further when they're sick.
What Can I Do to Help My Kid?
You've likely already heard of a dozen home remedies that promise to be the silver bullet. While some of those fixes, like a humidifier, can fix nasal congestion, they don't address the root cause of their nighttime coughing. One of those key root causes is their horizontal airways, as long your kid's body is making more mucus, and as long as they're laying flat, they'll get congested and cough.
You'll find that one of the most helpful things you can do to alleviate nighttime coughing is to do what they themselves do during the day — keep them more upright. That isn't to say they should sleep standing, but there is a compromise between being full upright and fully flat. Incline sleeping provides the best of both worlds, your child both has a comfortable surface and position to sleep in, while enjoying much quicker and easier airway draining.
Incline Sleeping? Can I Just Use Pillows For That?
It might seem tempting to just prop your kid's head up with a tall stack of pillows. But that stack of pillows your parents used on you might be doing more harm than good.
While it might seem like the easiest solution, there are a few big drawbacks to a stack of pillows. For one, pillows can easily cause neck strain on a kid, especially younger ones. It may provide temporary relief when they first lay down, but since children are often "active" sleepers (meaning they move around a lot as they sleep) they'll end up either slouching on their pillow stack, or rustle it around and break its structure.
Slouching on a pillow stack can be a big issue, especially for young kids as mentioned. A pillow stack may support their neck and upper back for a time, but if they slouch (or the pillow stack was too short to begin with), it can cause neck strain that can last into the next day. Improved breathing in exchange for pain and discomfort the next day is a bad trade — and a totally unnecessary one.
Additionally, "active" sleeping kids can knock their delicate stack of pillows around during the night, which may reduce its effectiveness, or cause them to end up laying flat all over again.
So What's The Solution?
Fortunately, for parents of sick kids, we have one easy, comfortable solution for nighttime coughing and congestion: the Tum&Bum!
The Tum&Bum provides an inclined surface for your child to sleep on, and allows their airways to drain effectively, just like they would during the daytime. Its shape lets your child sleep like they would normally, and also seamlessly prevents them from falling off during the night.
Built for kids upwards of 12 months old, the Tum&Bum will be your kid's nighttime companion when sick for many years to come! It comes in a variety of fun colors, and even has a variety of fun uses for when your child isn't sick. Learn more about the Tum&Bum by clicking here, and buy it now by clicking here!