Is a Cough Keeping You Awake at Night? Try all natural honey!

(Last Updated On: November 3, 2018)

Is a Cough Keeping You Awake at Night?  Try All Natural Honey!

Cold and flu season is here, and that means there is a chance that you or someone you live with is going to get sick, most likely with the common cold. A cold can often involve a lingering tickle in the throat that can cause a constant nagging cough. I am talking about that dry cough that explodes out of your mouth louder than ever when you try to hold it in.  This cough can make it next to impossible to sleep soundly through the night. Basically, this irritating cough is a reflex action controlled by your brain, triggered by inflammation of your throat, that is cause by the cold virus.

Do I really need to treat this cough?

Not really, most coughs associated with the common respiratory tract infection are more annoying than dangerous and will eventually resolve on its own, but probably not until you’ve lost a couple of night sleep.

If you choose to do nothing,

  • You will lose sleep.

  • You have to deal with the guilt of keeping your family or housemates awake all night listening to your constant cough.

  • If its your child coughing, you will lose sleep because you will worry every time you hear them cough.  

So everyone is going to suffer if you decide to do nothing…and that sounds like a terrible idea 🙁 


What can I do about my cough?

Try using natural honey.  Real Honey is an amazing cough suppressant. There are even studies have shown that honey works better at suppressing cough in children than the common ingredient, dextromethorphan, that is found in most cough syrups.  Honey has been shown to help reduce cough in children which leads to better sleep for kids and their watchful guardians.

In addition to the bit of research that says honey works, its also a time tested home remedy. You might remember that this is what you parent or grandparents gave you as a kid when you had cough. What is even better is that the honey doesn’t have to be special or fancy, it just needs to be real, like the kind you most likely have in your pantry right now. With honey, you are not worrying about the artificial colors or additional additives, all you are getting is real honey.

Be sure to look at the end of this article for a link on how to find real unadulterated honey!

To be fair, there are some warnings about honey.

  • It should NEVER be given to anyone under 12 months old because of the risk of Botulism.

  • If you are allergic to pollen or bees you may be allergic to honey and and if so you shouldn’t eat it.

  • If you eat a huge amount of honey you may get an upset stomach similarly to when you eat to much sugar.

  • If you have concerns about blood sugar this may not be right for you.

If you still need some convincing that honey is better, keep on reading strait on to the end.

What about an over the counter or prescription cough suppressant?

The standard choice might be to go to the grocery store to buy a cough medicine.  But, I have to ask you,…… have you looked at the ingredient label on some of these cough medicines lately?  There are a bunch of crazy man made dyes and chemicals in them in addition to the main cough suppressant which is dextromethorphan.  The warnings for Dextromethorphan, according to are as follows:

  • Do NOT give this to children under 4 years of age.

  • Do NOT take this if you are pregnant.

  • Do NOT take this medication if you are operating heavy machinery or doing any sort of job that requires your full attention because it causes drowsiness.

  • It can cause respiratory depression. In other words, it can take away your innate desire to breathe leading to death. This is why an overdose of this product can be super dangerous.

Finally, The candy colors and flavors may be a dangerous temptation to your children increasing the risk of overdose.

General warnings about OTC cold medications:

Over the counter cold medicines in general often have a bunch of artificial dyes, chemicals and additional medications that are included to treat a whole set of symptoms you may not even have.  Do you really need an added expectorant if you don’t have a phlegm problem, or a fever reducer if you don’t have a fever?

What about Codeine as a cough suppressant ?

And lastly, I want to tell you the story of the prescription cough suppressant codeine. Not so many years ago, Codeine was prescribed as a cough suppressant and it was frequently used in children. You may even remember Tylenol with codeine as a kid. In 2015, after years of concerns, the FDA started researching weather codeine was safe in children, then 2 years later, in 2017 they decided that it shouldn’t be used in children under 12.  Now in 2018 the FDA has declared that codeine is not appropriate for anyone under 18 years old.

I’m telling you this because not everything is known about the drugs we take, and it may take years for the hidden dangers of common medicines to come out.  The over the counter cough medicines may be the next product that is not appropriate for us and our children.

The moral of this story is that honey is an amazing home remedy.

So the next time you get a cold, use it to calm your cough and help you get a good nights sleep!

How to Use Honey for Your Next Cough


Honey strait:  1 tsp to 2 tsp strait off the spoon into your mouth.

Honey with tea: 1 Tbs in a cup of hot tea. You can punch up the cold fighting properties by adding an herbal tea.

Cough + sore throat:

This tea is great because it combines the pain blocking power of cayenne pepper*, with the cough suppressant properties of honey.  Then you add any immune boosting or great tasting tea that you choose.  .

What you need

– 1 -2 tbs honey

– 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper and/or ginger

– Squeeze of lemon

– Tea of your choice

Step 1: Add honey and cayenne to mug along with tea of your choice.

Step 1: Pour in hot water, let seep according to teas instructions. I recommend herbal tea at night so that the caffeine doesn’t keep you awake.

Step 3: Drink

* cayenne is not recommended for young children.

Tea Ideas To Go With Your Honey

– Echinacea: Cold fighting herb.

– ginger tea: warming and anti-inflammatory tea to help sooth throat

– Traditional Medicinals teas:

– Cold Care Tea: Has some cold fighting herbs.

– Throat Coat Tea: soothing to that sore throat, but only if you like the taste of licorice.

– Nightly Night Tea: For those adults who need a little more help getting to sleep.

– Camomile Tea: great for those kids or adults who get tired and cranky when sick.

How to get real honey

I recommend buying from a local bee keeper or from a farmers market if you can. Honey adulteration is big business and the honey you buy from the supermarket may be just a  sugar syrup and it probably won’t have the cough soothing magic as honey.  This link has a couple ways to determine if the honey you already have is real, or mostly real.


  1. Research C for DE and. Drug Safety Podcasts – FDA Drug Safety Podcast: FDA requires labeling changes for prescription opioid cough and cold medicines to limit their use to adults 18 years and older. Accessed October 29, 2018.
  2. Dextromethorphan Uses, Dosage, Side Effects – Published 2017. Accessed October 29, 2018.
  3. Research C for DE and. Choosing the right over-the-counter medicine (OTCs) – Over-the-Counter Medicines: What’s Right for You? Accessed October 29, 2018.
  4. 4. Shadkam MN, Mozaffari-Khosravi H, Mozayan MR. A Comparison of the Effect of Honey, Dextromethorphan, and Diphenhydramine on Nightly Cough and Sleep Quality in Children and Their Parents. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(7):787-793. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0311
  5. 5. Berlin CM, Gail Mccarver-May CD, Notterman DA, et al. Use of Codine and Dextromethorphan-Containing Cought Remedies in CHildren. Am Acad Pediatr Comm Drugs. 1996. doi:10.1542/peds.99.6.918
  6. 6. Paul IM, Beiler J, McMonagle A, Shaffer ML, Duda L, Berlin CM. Effect of Honey, Dextromethorphan, and No Treatment on Nocturnal Cough and Sleep Quality for Coughing Children and Their Parents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007;161(12):1140. doi:10.1001/archpedi.161.12.1140
  7.    Mandal MD, Mandal S. Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity.Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2011;1(2):154-60.


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