The official blog of the Lung Institute.

Sleeping Positions with COPD

9 Sep 2017
| Under COPD, Lifestyle | Posted by | 13 Comments
Sleeping Positions with COPD

Find the Escape with COPD.

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night struggling for breath? Does it ever feel like the agonizing pain will never go away?

Having a good night’s sleep is vital to maintaining good health. Without sufficient sleep, the body cannot begin to heal itself, which weakens the immune system. It also can lead to mood swings and affect your capability to maintain a healthy weight. Unfortunately, these issues are often shared among people with lung disease. When people with lung disease do not get an effective amount of sleep, it can cause their condition to worsen over time.

COPD Sleeping Disturbance

Sleep disturbance is one of the most common symptoms reported by patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). According to the Confronting COPD International Survey about 40 percent of patients experience trouble sleeping. Having COPD is directly associated with oxygen desaturation, which results in impaired sleep quality, particularly during the end of REM sleep. This stage can last up to about an hour, and throughout this time both breathing and heart rate increase. Patients with COPD experience the most interruption during this period, causing intense hyperventilation.

Sleep Better With COPD

Luckily, there are a few small changes that those with COPD can make for easier breathing while sleeping. One of those small changes is adjusting your sleeping position. It is often said that the best way to keep the airways open is to avoid lying down, but rather sitting in an upright position. Although this method is extremely effective, it does not mean that is comfortable. Trying to sleep straight up can seem more like a hassle than an escape. Sleeping on your side is more of a comfortable alternative that avoids any tension in the throat, which can hinder breathing. Sleeping on your side opens up the airways and can tremendously decrease the risk of breathing problems.

Your head position is another factor that needs to be considered. When you are lying on your side, making sure that your head is propped in an upright position and not lying flat is key. When your head is completely flat, your airways are restricted which can cause hyperventilation. It is extremely important to pay attention to the amount of head support you use. Too many pillows can cause just as much tension as using no pillow at all. Using at least one to two pillows is best when trying to focus on maintaining an opening of the airways.

At the Lung Institute, we understand the difficultly of not just COPD itself, but the troubles of sleeping that come with it. If you or a loved one is suffering from a chronic lung disease like COPD, the Lung Institute might be able to help. Give the gift of a better quality of life through cellular therapy at the Lung Institute. Contact one of our Patient Coordinators today by calling (800) 729-3065 for a free consultation.




  1. Lung Institute

    7 months ago


    Thank you for your comment. You have taken a great first step by stopping smoking. Research shows that once you stop you are helping your lungs begin to heal. You may want to talk with your primary doctor or specialist to discuss whether your COPD will get worse or level off.

    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. Virginia

    7 months ago

    If you have first stage of copd and stopped smoking will the copd still get worse? Thanks

  3. Lung Institute

    7 months ago


    Thank you for your question. When you go to sleep, your breathing slows and your respiratory system becomes less responsive to stimuli. This is not usually a problem for healthy people, but it can cause sleep disturbances in people who have COPD. Many people find it helpful to sleep with their heads elevated on 2 to 3 pillows. This allows the lungs to expand more fully.

    We’re happy to answer your questions about cells, treatment options, candidacy and cost. So, feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  4. Virginia

    8 months ago

    Why do yoU cough more at night with copd? Thanks much

  5. Lung Institute

    9 months ago


    We are sorry to hear about your breathing when lying down. We have written a number of articles on sleep positions and breathing. Use this link to check out the articles.


    The Lung Institute

  6. lynne

    9 months ago

    why is it when I change position, especially from standing to sitting in bed or sitting to lying in bed, I can’t breath for a few breaths.

  7. Phoebe

    1 year ago

    Hi Moni,

    We always advise people to consult with their doctors because their doctors know them and their health situation the best. This is important because your doctor is your main point of contact for all your medical and health needs. We offer a variety of articles that have tips and remedies to help manage symptoms. While there currently isn’t a cure for COPD or other chronic lung diseases, there are a variety of treatment options to help manage symptoms. It’s important to talk with your doctor before trying something new or changing your treatment plan. Feel free to check out our article on some positions to help reduce shortness of breath by clicking here. You can also check out our article on natural COPD treatments by clicking here. We hope you find this information helpful.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  8. moni

    1 year ago

    if you are not able to answer why you are here lung institute….
    there is no need of an advice from you to consult doctor.. we already consulted doctors and also having checkups in monthly basis… but we are asking for anything such natural way of remedies for this other than medicine.. i mean about exact sleeping position which help lungs to cure and breath easy and to avoid cough while sleeping etc… if there any tips you have please… but please dont answer for advicing me to consult doctor

  9. M R

    1 year ago

    Hello Rhonda,
    Thank you for your question. We recommend you discuss this with your primary healthcare provider. They’ll be able to give you more accurate information based on your medical history. If you have any questions related to so cell therapy, please give us a call at (855) 313-1149. Thanks again and have a great day.


    1 year ago


  11. PB

    1 year ago

    Dear Ian,

    First and foremost, we’re sorry to hear about the challenges you have been facing with sleeping, fluid coming from behind your nose and coughing. It’s important to talk with your doctor about these symptoms and any other symptoms you are having. Because your doctor knows you and your health well, he or she will be able to best guide you. We wish you the best.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  12. Ian Mathias

    1 year ago

    I’m often woke up by a sudden rush of fluid coming from behind my nose, it’s not only blood. I’m also woke up with the taste of a 6month ashtray in my mouth and throat. It feels like I’ve been eating broken glass and can’t stop coughing all night this usually happens around 2am. Not both symptoms together. I packed in smoking in 1/16. I’ve been vaping since.

  13. Pingback: Lung Institute | Fighting COPD-Related Fatigue

* Every patient is given a Patient Satisfaction Survey shortly after treatment. Responses to the 11-question survey are aggregated to determine patient satisfaction with the delivery of treatment.

^ Quality of Life Survey data measured the patient’s self-assessed quality of life and measurable quality of improvement at three months.

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.

Each patient is different. Results may vary.