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Sleeping well with COPD

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It is highly important for individuals with COPD to get adequate sleep, yet it is often a challenge. A well-rested body has more energy to perform everyday tasks and a rested mind can better manage changes in mood.

Have trouble sleeping? Here are a few "Do's and Don'ts" that may help:


  • Review your medications with your doctor to see if you are experiencing side effects. You may require an adjustment.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if night-time use of supplemental oxygen is an option for you.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about non-invasive positive-pressure ventilation (NIPPV) such as CPAP if you suffer from sleep apnea or other sleep disorders.
  • Seek treatment for underlying lung infections that may affect your breathing during sleep.
  • Keep the room you sleep in cozy, quiet, dark and cool.
  • Only use your bed for sleep. Get up and do something else if you don’t fall asleep within 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Practice airway clearance techniques throughout the day and before bedtime to remove the build up of secretions in your airways.


  • Take naps in the daytime. You may feel tired during the day, but taking a cat nap can prevent you from getting adequate sleep at night.
  • Drink caffeinated beverages late in the day. However, it is best if you are able to avoid caffeine altogether.
  • Exercise right before going to bed as it can prevent your body from winding down for the night.
  • Sleep lying flat. Elevating your upper body with pillows can help facilitate breathing.

Share your sleeping tips with the community in the comments section below!


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  • I am still enjoying the benefits of n acetyl cysteine. My lungs are clearer and I use my inhalers less. I sleep better and right through the night now.
    One would therefore assume that I would be getting more oxygen in and out and have more energy, but this does not seem to be the case.
    I have noticed that I can occasionally become so tired that I actually feel drained, and will fall asleep on the couch in the afternoon. Just lifting up a grandchild can get me out of breath!
    Could there be something else going on?
    • Hi Sobbybottonbhoy:
      I have found that if I grab a book about an hour to half hour before going to sleep that seems to help me. I usually read about 20 to 30 mins in bed and then have no problem falling asleep. You may not be getting good quality sleep. I would check with your healthcare provider to see what they have to say.
  • In general, putting cell phones and tablets (and TVs!) away an hour before you want to sleep seems to help people. (I need to take this advice.)
    • Thanks both of you. I am a keen blogger and have had to wean myself off blogging late at night because it does indeed get your mind overactive before sleeping.
      I also enjoy reading so that helps. Since I posted I have been using a broad spectrum amino acid supplement. Too early to say whether it's made any difference though.
      I was a long term asthma sufferer until it morphed into COPD, and I always noticed that breathing was easier when we had high pressure weather, and worse when it's cold and damp.
      Thanks for responding Jeanne and Kristen.
  • Another don't, don't use your electronics for about 90 mins before going to bed. Blue light (LEDs smartphones, tablets, laptops etc. ) suppress the secretion of melatonin.
  • I have noticed that before going to sleep half an hour normal walking really help me to sleep.
    You can also read Tips for Healthy life style at

    • Hello everybody.
      We all change our habits and lifestyle over time. I turned 70 a few days ago, and my wife and I go walking every other day now on doctor's advice. We now do between 3-5 miles each session.
      When we started out in late March I was wheezing at every step, but after two weeks I was much quieter (suddenly we were able to hear the birds singing in the hedge rows..)
      So these improvements I put down to N-acetylCysteine and walking. I have this blog to thank for NAC. I'd never heard of it before here in England.
      I would encourage any COPD/Asthma sufferer to try NAC for perhaps three months at 600mg twice a day. The walking has been very good for cardiovascular exercise, but again I don't push it. If I'm feeling short of breath (here in Norfolk England we are in high pollen season)

      I use my inhalers more often and stop walking when I need to.
      But tiredness.....
      I still get like a tidal wave of tiredness wash over me and I will go to bed for maybe two hours in an afternoon, and still sleep through the night.
      Maybe it's just age....


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