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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Adult and Senior Health Nocturnal Asthma

Nocturnal Asthma

Nocturnal asthma is a type of asthma that tends to produce symptoms only at night. Asthma involves constriction and inflammation of the airways particularly lower airways (bronchi and bronchioles).


Nocturnal asthma and sleep disturbance

Asthma symptoms worsen during sleep. Nocturnal asthma or night mare asthma needs proper diagnosis and effective treatment.

  • Coughing with expectoration during night
  • Wheezing during night
  • Chest tightness or pressure during night
  • Chest pain and pain in the lateral aspects of chest
  • Sleep deprivation and day time sleepiness
  • Fatigue and irritability
  • Rapid and hurried breathing
  • Difficulty in breathing

 Nocturnal asthma causes

  • Increased exposure to allergens at night
  • Cooling of airways
  • Reclining position
  • Hormone secretion that follow circadian rhythm

Sleep itself causes changes in bronchial function because

  • Increased mucus and sinusitis
  • Lying in the reclining position increases the airway resistance and decreases the tidal volume.
  • Breathing cool air in nite and sleeping in air conditioned bedrooms
  • Gastro esophageal reflux

 Tests and diagnosis

  • Home based tests: Home allergy testing and food allergy tests
  • Lung function test (Pulmonary function test)
  • Chest X- ray
  • Sleep apnea diagnostic test


  • Severe difficulty in breathing
  • Asphyxia
  • Permanent damage to airways
  • Death is uncommon


Avoid allergens and triggering factors for asthma