The Asthma Center

Nocturnal Asthma

Although asthma symptoms do occur at night, nocturnal asthma refers to a condition of suffering frequent nighttime asthmatic attacks. There are at least three reasons for wheezing at night or early in the morning:

  1. You are allergic to house dust, house dust mites, animal dander and/or other allergens (dust mites are concentrated in bedding). After inhaling these allergens for a few hours, you may begin to develop allergic asthmatic symptoms.
  2. There is a natural decrease in circulating corticosteroids and epinephrine substances in the body late at night. These reach a low point about 2:00 a.m. - 3:00 a.m. each morning and may play a role in nocturnal asthma.
  3. You may suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This may be associated with a hiatal hernia. In these situations, there is the possibility that stomach acid may be regurgitated and/or aspirated at night while in a reclined position. Acid reflux can cause marked bronchospasm.