Postnasal drip occurs when excess mucus accumulates in the back of the throat; and allergies, respiratory infections, or sinus issues can trigger it. During the day, we naturally clear mucus from our throats by swallowing. However, at night, this process becomes less efficient.
A few factors contribute to postnasal drip-induced coughing at night. When we lie down to sleep, the position of our body changes, which alters the dynamics of mucus drainage. This can lead to mucus pooling in the back of the throat, causing irritation and a persistent cough. Additionally, since we are in a state of rest, our swallowing activity reduces, which increases the likelihood of mucus accumulation in the throat, triggering a cough reflex.
Some simple solutions can help you improve your quality of sleep. Try sleeping with your upper body elevated, using a humidifier to add moisture to the air, or taking an antihistamine or decongestant (per Harvard Medical School).