How Asthma Affects Sleep Quality With Dr. James Murtagh


If you struggle with asthma, sleep problems, or both, you may be interested in how these conditions interrelate and how they can impact your day-to-day life. The conditions connect surprisingly close to each other, and understanding their relationship may change how you deal with them.

Nocturnal asthma significantly impacts the quality of your sleep and your life overall. Healthcare professionals like Dr. James Murtagh are getting an increasingly good understanding of these two conditions and finding better ways to prevent asthma from affecting your sleep.

In this article, we’ll learn about asthma and its impact on your ability to sleep, and we’ll also look at how somebody like Dr. James Murtagh might be able to help you. Nobody wants to feel like they can’t breathe at night – a time that should be relaxing – so let’s better understand this problem.

Does Asthma Affect Your Sleep?

Asthma impacts your ability to sleep significantly, and breathing difficulties can be complicated at night. Many people with asthma find their symptoms worse when asleep, although healthcare professionals like Dr. James Murtagh don’t fully understand why this is the case. There are a few potential explanations, including:

  • Lying down can cause accumulations of fluid in the airways and may decrease your lung volume, which can make it harder to breathe
  • Lying down also puts increased pressure on your lungs and chest, which may make your breathing feel tighter
  • There are sometimes asthma triggers in the bedroom (such as dust mites, pet hair, etc.)
  • Your airways may narrow when you are asleep, increasing the air resistance
  • Colder nighttime air could trigger nighttime asthma

It’s also worth noting that your asthma will likely worsen if you are overtired. That means that if you’re already suffering from broken sleep due to your asthma, it will trigger further asthma attacks, making it even harder to sleep. This leads to a vicious cycle that’s challenging to break without help.

There are other explanations and theories about nighttime asthma too. Many individuals suffer from worse breathing at night (or whenever they try to sleep, even during the day). Regardless of the explanation, there’s no doubt that this problem leaves many patients suffering from poor sleep and exhaustion.

For doctors interested in sleep medicine, like Dr. Murtagh, asthma must be taken very seriously and treated as best as possible. There are no cures for asthma, but there are treatments that can reduce the risks and give patients a better chance of sleeping well.

What the treatments are will depend upon what is triggering the nighttime asthma attacks, but there is a range of options. If you have nighttime asthma, it’s imperative to seek treatment to improve your quality of life and reduce the risks associated with breathing difficulties.

Are Asthma Attacks At Night Dangerous?

Yes, asthma attacks at night can be dangerous. Nocturnal asthma is common, but it often indicates that the condition isn’t appropriately controlled and you’re at risk of a severe attack. It’s critical to get this dealt with, or you may be unable to breathe alone.

You should always ensure your inhaler is close to the bed to grab it quickly if needed. Don’t sleep when you feel at risk of an attack or your breathing is uncomfortable. 

If you have breathing difficulties the following morning, take this as a sign that you may have struggled to breathe in your sleep, even if you didn’t notice.

How Can Doctors Help?

A picture of a man with asthma struggling to fall asleep; a prime candidate for treatment with Dr. James Murtagh

Healthcare professionals like Dr. James Murtagh are highly engaged with how to help patients improve their breathing and treat asthma symptoms. Dr. James Murtagh is an expert in pulmonary care and sleep medicine and has spent much of his career helping individuals with lung problems.

He has an excellent understanding of how to approach breathing difficulties and deep insight into the value and importance of high-quality sleep. He has spent over 40 years working with patients and contributes to the world of pulmonary and sleep medicine through high-quality writing and patient care.

Dr. James Murtagh runs a medical practice dedicated to improving his patient’s health and wellness. He has produced a lot of literature to help his colleagues and future medical professionals better understand both breathing and sleeping difficulties.

Whether you see Dr. James Murtagh or another specialist, getting treatment for asthma at night is essential.

What Can You Do To Reduce Asthma Attacks At Night?

As well as seeing a specialist, you may find the following tips to help you:

  • Limit allergens in the bedroom by keeping pets out of there and using anti-allergen bedding
  • Exercise during the day to improve your lung capacity: this is something that Dr. James Murtagh recommends to his patients who suffer from breathing difficulties
  • Relax and do some breathing exercises or yoga before you go to bed
  • Try a nasal decongestant before bed (but make sure you have done a daytime test to check that it doesn’t worsen your symptoms)
  • Use an air purifier
  • Keep your room comfortable, so the air is neither hot nor cold.
  • Wash your bedding frequently.
  • Get tested for sleep apnea: as well as asthma, you could be suffering from sleep apnea, and this is another condition that people like Dr. James Murtagh can help you address

As you can see, there are things you can do yourself to deal with asthma attacks at night, but it’s still a good idea to get in touch with a specialist so they can help you.


You should consult a healthcare professional as soon as possible if you’re suffering from breathing difficulties at night, whether asthma attacks or sleep apnea. Dr. James Murtagh specializes in sleep medicine and pulmonary care and can help if you struggle to breathe at night. Other medical professionals should also be able to help you overcome these problems and enjoy a more restful night’s sleep.

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