Asthma sufferers can also be quite sensitive to environmental conditions. Your asthma may be reacting to air that is too hot, too cold, too moist or too dry. Experiment with adjusting the temperature and humidity in your bedroom and see what works best for your asthma.
Another possibility is that your controller medicine is wearing off too quickly. A controller medicine, such as an inhaled corticosteroid, helps prevent asthma symptoms. Ask your doctor if you need to increase your dose, or take a dose before you go to bed.
Many people find that lying down makes them more uncomfortable, although the asthma itself isn’t worse. Try propping yourself up rather than lying flat in bed.
Finally, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) may be causing your symptoms to worsen at night. A small amount of stomach acid can come back up your esophagus and slide into your upper airways, irritating them. Try propping up the head of your bed, or ask your doctor about over-the-counter and prescription medications that can help control GERD.
I’ll bet that one of these suggestions will help you -- and prove that my grandmother was right!
(Dr. Komaroff is a physician and professor at Harvard Medical School. To send questions, go to AskDoctorK.com, or write: Ask Doctor K, 10 Shattuck St., Second Floor, Boston, MA 02115.)