Coughing At Night by Dr. Christina Hinchcliffe, ND

November 23, 2016

ChristaHinchliff Is coughing keeping your child up at night? An old time remedy, honey, has actually been proven to be a great cough suppressant. One study1, with children ages 2-18 whom experienced upper respiratory tract infections, sleep disturbance and duration of illness 7 days or less, were given a single dosage of 2 teaspoons of honey before bed. The honey reduced nighttime coughing and even improved sleep. In the same study, honey was shown to be as effective as the over-the-counter cough suppressant ingredient dextromethorphan. In a follow-up study2, 300 children aged 1-5 with a nighttime cough of less than 7 days duration and a diagnosis of upper respiratory infection were randomly given a single dosage of 1.5 teaspoons of honey or placebo 30 minutes before bed. Again, honey showed to be helpful in reducing cough and helping improve sleep. This is great news, a remedy that actually tastes good, benefits our environment, and works really well! Also important is honey can help children avoid an over-the-counter cough suppressant that is capable of serious complications. One big caution though, in children under 1, do not use honey due to the risk of infant botulism. And of course, this information should not be used in place of the advice of your child’s medical provider.
  1. Paul IM, Beiler J, McMonagle A, et al. Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med.2007;161:1140–1146. <PubMed>
  2. Cohen HA, Rozen J, Kristal H, et al. Effect of honey on nocturnal cough and sleep quality: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Pediatrics. 2012;130:465-471.