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Cough relief by sleeping in the recovery position?

  1. Nov 3, 2015 #1
    Following a cold or flu I'm often afflicted by a persistent cough which keeps me awake at night. After a recent bout of the flu I discovered that sleeping in the "recovery position" allowed me to easily make it through the night with little or no coughing. If I did not maintain the position, the cough would return and waken me.

    I cannot find any information regarding the use of the recovery position for cough relief while sleeping. I don't know whether my experience was just due to the placebo effect, the circumstances of this infection, or some aspect of my personal physiology. I'm curious as to whether it would work for others.

    If anyone has any further information I'd be interested to know more.

    If anyone has a cough and would like to give this a try, I'd be interested to know if it helps.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 3, 2015 #2


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    The phenomenon is called postural drainage, it works by aiding mucus flow in the lungs. Generally it's a treatment for bronchitis but I suppose it works for regular chest infections too (I've found this to be the case and coincidentally currently have a chest infection that is helped by this).
  4. Nov 3, 2015 #3
    Thanks, I can now find quite a few references. It's puzzling that it is not more widely suggested for normal coughs. I think the extended periods of relief it brought me contributed to a more rapid recovery than I have previously experienced. I hope it works as well in the future - then my only regret would be reflecting on all the unnecessary sleepless nights that I've experienced in the past.
  5. Nov 3, 2015 #4


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    I would caution anyone to see their doctor before they try this, I have GERD and this could kill me by causing me to suffocate on my own vomit, I am under doctors orders to sleep sitting up, the doctor went so far to write that as a prescription to cover himself.

  6. Nov 3, 2015 #5
    I should have been clearer, that this is something that worked for me for after a normal flu, and aside from the residual cough I was otherwise in good health. I have no expertise in health, and cannot say whether this is a safe practice for a post flu cough or any other condition. See your doctor first.
  7. Nov 11, 2015 #6


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    Just for info...

    A persistent cough that is worse in the evening/night can be associated with asthma. Worth getting checked.
  8. Nov 16, 2015 #7
    Remember that coughing has a function, its a way of trying to clear out the rubbish in your lungs that accumulate in infections. If we suppress this activity we run the risk of worsening the condition or encouraging a secondary infection. In medicine "postural drainage" is used to help the body shift any of the rubbish left in the lungs and often encourages coughing. All these effects depend on where the infection and its by products are located in the lungs and its common for things like a cough to continue after the infection has resolved.
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