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Updated 13 June 2014

What causes asthma symptoms at night?

Neither sleep nor dreaming is responsible for nocturnal (nighttime) worsening of asthma. However, there might be several other reasons for this phenomenon.

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Neither sleep nor dreaming is responsible for nocturnal (nighttime) worsening of asthma. However, there might be several other reasons for this phenomenon:

  • Allergic triggers: If you come into contact with substances in your bedroom that cause an allergic reaction, such as cat or dog dander and dust, they may be responsible. Irritating fumes from kerosene heaters and wood-burning stoves may also cause an asthma attack. Exposure to these or other triggers from earlier in the day may also cause a delayed reaction with asthma symptoms appearing during the night.
  • Hormones: Levels of hormones in the body also change throughout the day. In people with asthma, the changing levels of hormones during the night may predispose the muscles in the lungs to contract, resulting in narrowing and inflammation of the bronchi.
  • Stomach acid reflux: If you notice a burning in your lower chest area or a bitter taste in your mouth when you awake in the morning, you may have stomach acid reflux.

National Asthma Education Programme (NAEP)
Allergy Society of South Africa

 

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