Why Do I Cough for a While When I First Wake up in the Morning?

Smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke, asthma or allergies, gastroesophageal reflux disease, or respiratory tract infections may cause a chronic cough in the morning, according to Health.com. Various pollutants in the air can also cause coughing in the morning.

In addition to smoking, gastroesophageal reflux disease is the most common culprit of morning coughing, states Dr. Noah Lechtzin with Merck Manuals. Burning pain in the chest, a sour taste when awakening, wheezing and hoarseness often accompany the coughing. Respiratory diseases, such as acute bronchitis, and complications with pneumonia can also cause an acute cough.

Individuals with a flare-up of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease often experience chronic coughing, according to Lechtzin. Symptoms such as postnasal drip, where secretions drain from the nose to the throat or pharynx, can also cause coughing in the morning.

Some medications, such as ACE inhibitors to treat heart failure and blood pressure, include side effects such as chronic coughing, notes Health.com. The medication can cause persistent coughing for weeks after people stop taking the prescribed drugs.

A chronic lung disease, such as asthma, leaves the airways in the lungs prone to swelling and inflammation. Symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness tend to intensify in the early morning and in the evening, according to Health.com. Extreme symptoms are typically characterized as an asthma attack.