Breathing Easy at Night: 8 Proven Strategies to Sleep Better with COPD

Oct 29, 2023

If you or a loved one have COPD, you know that managing sleep can be a nightly struggle. But with the right strategies, you can improve your sleep quality and wake up feeling more refreshed. In this guide, we'll explore eight proven strategies to help you breathe easy at night and enjoy a better night's sleep with COPD.

Understanding COPD and Sleep

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a chronic lung condition that includes conditions such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It's characterized by the narrowing of the airways, making it difficult to breathe. One of the challenges people with COPD face is disrupted sleep. So, let's dive into the strategies that can help you sleep better.

1. Maintain Medication Management

COPD: Managing your COPD symptoms is crucial for a good night's sleep. Ensure you take your prescribed medications as directed by your healthcare provider. These medications can help keep your airways open and reduce inflammation, making breathing easier.

2. Optimize Your Sleep Position

Sleep with COPD: Finding the right sleeping position can make a significant difference. For COPD patients, sleeping in a slightly elevated position can help improve breathing. Using extra pillows to elevate your upper body or investing in an adjustable bed can be beneficial.

3. Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

COPD sleep strategies: A calming bedtime routine can prepare your body for rest. Consider activities like reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation exercises. Avoid stimulating activities and heavy meals close to bedtime.

4. Use a Humidifier

COPD and sleep issues: COPD symptoms often worsen in dry air. Using a humidifier in your bedroom can add moisture to the air, making it easier to breathe and reducing nighttime symptoms.

5. Stay Active

COPD sleep help: Regular physical activity can improve lung function and overall health. While it's important to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program, incorporating gentle activities into your daily routine can promote better sleep.

6. Manage Your Stress

Sleep strategies for COPD: Stress and anxiety can exacerbate COPD symptoms and disrupt sleep. Consider techniques like deep breathing exercises or meditation to help manage stress levels and promote better sleep.

7. Avoid COPD Triggers

Sleep improvement for COPD: Identify and avoid triggers that can worsen your COPD symptoms, such as tobacco smoke, air pollution, or allergens. By reducing exposure to these triggers, you can minimize nighttime disruptions.

8. Invest in the Right Bedding

COPD sleep support: Your choice of bedding can impact your sleep quality. Opt for hypoallergenic bedding to reduce potential allergens in your sleep environment. Additionally, lightweight and breathable bedding can help regulate your body temperature, preventing discomfort during the night.

Common Questions About COPD and Sleep

  1. Can COPD cause sleep problems?

    Yes, COPD can lead to sleep problems due to nighttime symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath, and discomfort. However, with proper management and these strategies, you can significantly improve your sleep quality.

  2. Should I use oxygen therapy at night?

    If your healthcare provider recommends oxygen therapy, it's essential to use it as directed. Oxygen therapy can help ensure your body gets the oxygen it needs during sleep, improving sleep quality.

  3. Are there specific foods to avoid before bedtime?

    Heavy or spicy meals close to bedtime can exacerbate COPD symptoms. It's best to avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol in the hours leading up to bedtime.

  4. Can I use a sleep aid for COPD-related sleep issues?

    Always consult your healthcare provider before using any sleep aids. They can provide guidance on safe options that won't interfere with your COPD treatment.

  5. Should I see a sleep specialist?

    If your sleep problems persist despite trying these strategies, consider consulting a sleep specialist. They can provide further evaluation and recommend advanced treatments tailored to your needs.


    Getting a good night's sleep with COPD may be challenging, but it's not impossible. By following these eight proven strategies, you can significantly improve your sleep quality, wake up feeling more refreshed, and better manage your COPD symptoms. Remember, it's essential to work closely with your healthcare provider to tailor these strategies to your specific needs. With the right approach, you can start breathing easy at night and enjoy the restful sleep you deserve.