To Top

Can a Marshmallow Before Bed Really Silence Your Nighttime Cough?

If you’re staring down the barrel of another sleepless night thanks to a relentless cough, you might be tempted to try the latest TikTok remedy: swallowing a fluffy marshmallow before bed.

The allure is understandable. After all, the chewy treat’s main ingredient, gelatin, is touted as a throat-coating superhero by online whisperers. One TikTok user even racked up millions of views for her #marshmallow #homeremedy, claiming it stopped her agonizing cough cold in its tracks.

But before you raid your pantry in a sugar-fueled quest for relief, let’s separate fact from marshmallow fluff.

Marshmallow Mystery: Root vs. Candy

Freepik | KamranAydinov | Store-bought marshmallows lack the magical root; they’re mostly sugar and gelatin.

The truth, like your nighttime cough, isn’t always easy to swallow. There seems to be some confusion between natural marshmallow root, an herbal remedy with potential throat-soothing properties, and the commercially produced marshmallows gracing supermarket shelves.

“Natural marshmallow root can create a protective layer on the lining of your throat, esophagus, and lungs,” explains Dr. Omid Mehdizadeh, a voice and swallowing specialist. “This can be calming and even reduce inflammation, potentially easing coughs from various causes.”

However, the marshmallows you grab from a store lack this magical root. They’re mainly sugar and gelatin, lacking the soothing power of their herbal namesake. And even with gelatin, the science is murky.

Sugar Rush, Not Cough Crush

While the idea of a sweet reward for battling a cough might be tempting, Dr. Cynthia Li, an internal and integrative medicine specialist, warns against marshmallow mania.

“Sugar and corn syrup, the predominant ingredients in store-bought marshmallows, are notorious inflammation triggers and immune suppressors,” she says. “So, indulging in marshmallows to stop your cough could actually backfire, making you feel worse.”

Home Remedies Worth the Hype

Freepik | Doctors recommend warm beverages like honey-laced water to soothe a sore throat and ease a cough.

So, if marshmallows are a marshmallow of an idea, what can you actually do to silence your nighttime cough and snag some precious sleep?

  • Warm Up Your Throat: Doctors recommend warm beverages like honey-laced water to soothe a sore throat and ease a cough.

  • Broth Power: Bone broth, gaining popularity for its healing properties, is another doctor-approved option. “It contains cysteine, glutamine, and carnosine, all helpful for immunity and thinning mucus,” says Dr. Li.

  • Sleep Smart: Elevate your head and chest while sleeping. This promotes phlegm drainage and makes nighttime coughs less disruptive. A humidifier can also be your bedtime buddy, especially if dryness worsens your cough.

  • Skip Late-Night Feasts: Dr. Mehdizadeh advises avoiding meals within three hours of bedtime. Eating close to sleep can trigger acid reflux, a common nighttime cough culprit.

  • Salt Solution: Nasal sprays with salt water can help reduce postnasal drip, another cough contributor. Dr. Mehdizadeh suggests addressing the underlying causes of this drip, like allergies or infections.

Over-The-Counter Helpers

Sometimes, a little extra help from the pharmacy is needed. Consider these options:

  • Cough Drops: Opt for sugar-free varieties with menthol or manuka honey, recommends Dr. Li.

  • Cough Syrups: Dextromethorphan-containing syrups like Robitussin can be effective.

  • Nasal Sprays: Anti-inflammatory nasal sprays like Flonase or allergy medications can sometimes calm coughs.

When Marshmallows Aren’t Enough

Pexels | Lucas Guimarães Bueno | Doctors suggest alternatives that extend beyond the allure of marshmallows.

Pexels | Lucas Guimarães Bueno | If your cough lingers beyond two weeks, a doctor’s visit is crucial.

Remember, if your cough lingers beyond two weeks or comes with other symptoms like shortness of breath or chest pain, a doctor’s visit is crucial. Diagnosing the cause and finding the right treatment is key to silencing your cough and reclaiming your sleep.

So, while the marshmallow trend might be tempting, it’s best to stick to science-backed remedies and ditch the sugary snooze solution. Sweet dreams (and quiet coughs) await!


  • Don’t rely solely on marshmallows to cure your cough.
  • Warm beverages, bone broth, and sleep adjustments can offer natural relief.
  • Over-the-counter cough drops, syrups, and nasal sprays can be helpful in some cases.
  • If your cough persists, visit a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

By prioritizing sensible solutions over sugary trends, you can cough your way to a healthier, sleepier you. Now, that’s something to sweeten your dreams!

More in Treatment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login