Can't Sleep Through A Gnarly Cough? Eat These Two Ingredients Right Before Bed

Dealing with a gnarly cough is never fun. But any time a virus or bacteria invades your respiratory tract, mucus is sure to come. While mucus gets a bad rap, it's actually an essential mechanism for keeping your systems lubricated and ousting unwanted invaders, according to Cleveland Clinic.

When a virus or bacteria gets into your system, it attacks the body through the nasal lining, per Medical News Today. Your body responds by shooting inflammatory chemicals to get those invaders out of you fast. Your nose starts running, your throat becomes scratchy, and the next thing you know, you're coughing up a storm. All that mucus worsens when you lie down (via State Urgent Care). Therefore, you start coughing and can't seem to quit, which makes it more difficult to sleep. While your first thought might be to reach for the Tylenol Cold and Flu or grab the Robitussin, TikTok offers a more natural way to calm your gnarly cough with a bit of honey and pepper.

In addition to step-by-step instructions on how to make this viral cough suppressant, we'll also go over the science of why it works to soothe your cough. You can also find a few must-have tips for keeping your coughing at a minimum at night.

How honey and pepper soothe a nighttime cough

Everyone and their grandmother has a nighttime cough remedy for you to try. But @glowingnaturallyuk provides a simple, tested recipe with honey and black pepper that's good for adults and children without honey allergies. To create this coughing cure, mix one tablespoon (adults) or one teaspoon (children) with a pinch of black pepper. Scoop the mixture into your mouth and go to sleep. 

Now, let's look at the science behind why it works. A 2012 study in Pediatrics on nocturnal cough and sleep quality found honey at bedtime was effective in suppressing cough and improving sleep quality. The study surveyed children for two consecutive nights, comparing the effects of honey to a placebo. The honey showed more significant improvement in the upper respiratory tract infection than the placebo. Additionally, an article in Canadian Family Physician states that a single dose of honey is effective in reducing mucus secretions and coughing in children. It also notes that honey's benefits include antimicrobial effects.

Black pepper is more than just a spice to heat up your favorite mac and cheese. It's also been shown to improve inflammation. Research in the Journal of Translational Medicine showed that peperine (peppers' main compound) could help fight inflammation that leads to chronic diseases and cancer. Additionally, a study in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology showed peperine effectively treated inflammation in the airways.

Other tricks to soothe a nighttime cough

Swallowing a little honey and pepper can help give you a restful night's sleep. However, if the concoction isn't working as planned, it doesn't mean you're destined to suffer through the night. A powerful remedy for stopping any cough is water. Try boiling some water and inhaling the steam to moisten up your sinuses and help expel any mucus collecting in your throat before bed (per WebMD). You can take a long shower to bathe in that healing mist. It's also beneficial to add a humidifier to your bedroom.

Add another fighter to your cough battle by throwing salt into your water. Shooting saline up your nose helps to clear out any nagging debris and thin out mucus before you hit the hay. Gargling with salt water is also effective for helping with upper respiratory infection (URI) symptoms. A study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine showed that gargling with salt water reduced bronchial symptoms in those with URI.

Healthline also suggests cough remedies like taking a decongestant or sipping lemon juice. Using a neti pot to wash out the nasal passages can also be the way to go.