Sleeping well with COPD

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....

  • There are a type of sunglasses you can wear so you are able to use your electronic devices at night, they are using them for some colleges sport teams and seem to have better outcomes from the players who wear the sunglasses to use than the players who do not!
    • Also there are apps that filter the bluelight on your smartphone if you can't put it down.