The official blog of the Lung Institute.

5 Ways COPD May Be Disrupting Your Sleep

25 Jan 2018
| Under COPD, Lifestyle, Lung Disease, Tips | Posted by | 2 Comments
5 Ways COPD May Be Disrupting Your Sleep

Do you spend your days feeling tired, yet have trouble getting and staying asleep? Or maybe you wake up every morning, only to feel like you’ve not slept at all the night before?

According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), these sleep issues are all too common for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. But what accounts for all the sleepiness?

Nighttime Coughing

Because a chronic cough is one of the main symptoms of COPD, it only makes sense that nighttime coughing could be keeping you awake. So, if you still smoke, this is one really good reason to stop as, in this case, the cough may be primarily smoking related.

Otherwise, there may be some medications that can relieve your nighttime cough—like a bronchodilator—so talk to your doctor if this is a major issue for you. He or she may be able to prescribe something or recommend an over-the-counter remedy that can give you some relief.

Frequent Urination

It’s not out of the ordinary for COPD patients with related heart issues to be prescribed a diuretic. While this may benefit the condition overall, frequent trips to the bathroom aren’t going to help you get the sleep you need to feel fully rested.

Other COPD meds may change your blood sugar levels enough to make you want to go to the bathroom more than usual too. For these reasons, you may want to time your medications so they’re not working their hardest in the middle of the night (as long as your doctor agrees with this, of course).

Taking Medications that Cause Insomnia

Some research has found that certain meds used to treat COPD tend to have insomnia as a side effect. For instance, one study published in the journal Drugs discussed the fact that “aerosol therapies” could be to blame for sleep issues related to COPD.

If you think that your medications’ side effects may play a part in your sleep issues, check with your doctor. In the meantime, you can also do a search on Drugs.com to check for yourself.

Waking Up to Take Meds on Schedule

Taking Medication

Another factor that may be contributing to a poor sleep schedule is if you have to set your alarm to take your medications at a certain time every night. Certainly, this can make you feel less rested because you’re not giving your body the straight sleep it needs to go through all of the necessary sleep cycles.

Again, if this is your situation, speak to your doctor. Ask how you can change your medication schedule so they don’t limit your ability to get solid periods of rest.

Reduced Oxygen Levels During Sleep

Breathing patterns normally change during sleep and, although they don’t typically have a negative impact, for people with COPD, this can actually create issues. And it can be an even greater issue yet for those who have sleep apnea along with COPD—called “overlap syndrome”—which the NSF says is the case for 10 to 15 percent of all COPD cases.

Sleep apnea is a major issue which needs to be addressed if you have it. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute shares that “undiagnosed or untreated sleep apnea prevents restful sleep and can cause complications that may affect many parts of your body.” Thus, talk to your doctor if you feel this is a concern.

If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic disease like COPD, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis or other symptoms of lung disease, the Lung Institute offers a variety of cellular treatment options. Contact us today at (800) 729-3065 or fill out the form to see if you qualify for cellular therapy, and find out what cellular therapy could mean for you.

Interested in our article on sleep and COPD? Share your thoughts and comments below.


  1. Lung Institute

    3 months ago


    Thank you for your comment and question. We are sorry to hear about your medical condition. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to diagnose your situation. That is best left to your primary physician or specialist.

    Our dedicated medical team has a wealth of knowledge about cellular therapy, treatment options, candidacy, cost and more. We’re happy to answer your questions, so feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  2. Robin

    3 months ago

    i am a 68 year old female andI have both copd and sleep apnea. i was officially diagnosed, in 2011. my sleep apnea is untreated due to my inability to exhale enough. i feel as if i am sufocating. I am diabetic, have wide spread fibromyalgia, and I’ve dealt with gerd for over 20 years.
    I am wondering, based on a recent hospitalization, if copd can mimic syptoms of a heart attack. The test administered, in the hospital ruled out cardiac issues, Pulmonary embolism, or viral causes for my pain. I experience severe chest pain, radiating to my right shoulder and lower jaw.
    I have a long list, of “don’t take” medications, including steroids, and inhalers, which cause spasmodic coughing.
    I am trying to be proactive so I can be the best me!
    Thank you for any information you are able to provide.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.