5 Tips for Getting Restful Sleep with COPD

by Kathi MacNaughton Health Professional

When you have COPD, getting enough rest is essential. Of course, even people without COPD need sleep, but people who suffer from COPD use up much greater energy resources just to get through the day. So, when they do go to bed, they need to know they're going to get a good night's rest.

Elevate your head for sleeping

Lying flat makes it harder to breathe. So sleep with your head on 2 or more pillows, stick a wedge pillow under your shoulders or even put blocks under the head of your bed.

Practice some meditative relaxation & deep breathing before bedtime

Lie or sit quietly and breathe in and out as deeply as you can for 5 to 15 minutes before going to sleep. This can help clear your airways of mucus a bit, enable you to let go of the stresses and worries of the day and put you in a calm, relaxed state conducive to sleep.

Use supplemental oxygen at bedtime

If you are on oxygen around the clock, then be sure not to turn it off at bedtime! But if you only use oxygen "as needed" or are not using it at all and you're having trouble sleeping, then talk to your doctor about whether using supplemental oxygen at bedtime and throughout the night might be beneficial for you.

Talk to your doctor about medication options

An over-the-counter hormone called Melatonin is useful for some people having sleep difficulties. Melatonin is a hormone already found normally in the human body, but sometimes taking an extra dose at bedtime can help you feel sleepier.

Reserve the last couple of hours before bed to wind down

Try to avoid exercising or drinking caffeinated beverages during this time, as either one could interfere with your ability to drop off to sleep quickly. Also try not to nap during the day.

Kathi  MacNaughton
Meet Our Writer
Kathi MacNaughton

Kathi is an experienced consumer health education writer, with a prior career in nursing that spanned more than 30 years — much of it in the field of home health care. Over the past 15 years, she's been an avid contributor for a number of consumer health websites, specializing in asthma, allergy, and COPD. She writes not only as a healthcare professional, but also as a lifelong sufferer of severe allergies and mild asthma, and as a caregiver for her mother with COPD.