Asthma and your child's sleep

Find out why your child’s asthma symptoms may be worse at night and how you can help them sleep well.

Why is my child's asthma waking them up at night?

If your child is waking up because of asthma symptoms at night, it could be a sign their asthma is not well controlled. It’s important to see your child’s GP or asthma nurse if asthma symptoms are affecting their sleep.

If your child has not been diagnosed with asthma yet, coughing or wheezing at night or in the early morning could be signs of asthma.

We know from calls to our helpline that some people are finding it hard to see their GP at the moment. Read our advice about getting a GP appointment.

What should I do when my child's asthma wakes them up?

Make sure your child takes their reliever inhaler (usually blue)

Try to keep your child’s reliever inhaler beside their bed while they sleep, so they get to it quickly if they need to. If they use a spacer, keep that close too.

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a breathing problem that happens when you sleep. Your child is more likely to have OSA if they have asthma. Find out more about OSA in children, including what the symptoms are and how it is treated.

How can I improve my child’s sleep?

Sleep is very important, especially for children. Here is some advice for improving your child’s sleep:

Manage your child's sleep

Managing your child’s asthma well could help them sleep better: 

  • Make sure your child takes their preventer inhaler every day, as prescribed.
  • Use your child’s asthma action plan. This has all the information you need in one place so you can manage your child’s asthma.  
  • Have regular reviews with your child’s GP or asthma nurse. Your child should have an asthma review at least once a year, but you can make a GP appointment at any time if you’re concerned.
  • Keep your child's reliever inhaler (usually blue) and spacer close by at all times, so that you can deal with your child’s asthma symptoms quickly. 

Help your child avoid asthma triggers

Some things in your home or your child’s bedroom could trigger their asthma symptoms. This could include: 

  • mould 
  • pollen 
  • pet hair
  • dust mites. 

You can learn how to manage your child’s asthma triggers so that they do not affect their sleep. 

Keep your child's bedroom at the right temperature

The temperature in the room where your child sleeps is important. If you can, we recommend heating your house to at least 18°C (64°F). We have more information about keeping your home warm.


Some medicines can stop your child from sleeping well. For example, steroids or montelukast. Read more about asthma medicines and sleep.

Read more about helping your child sleep well on the NHS website

Get support

Call our Helpline for support with your condition. Get advice on your medicines, symptoms or travelling with a lung condition, or just call us to say hello.

Did you find this information useful?

We use your comments to improve our information. We cannot reply to comments left on this form. If you have health concerns or need clinical advice, call our helpline on 0300 222 5800 between 9am and 5pm on a weekday or email them.

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