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Why Your Throat Hurts When You Wake Up: Causes And Easy Treatments

Your throat hurts when you wake up because of dryness or irritants like the common cold. It’s also more likely to feel sore in the winter because of the dry air, especially if you snore. Solutions involve checking yourself for underlying issues like sleep apnea or illness and trying humidifiers.

Why Your Throat Hurts When You Wake Up: Causes And Easy Treatments

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Common sources of morning throat pain are dry air, dehydration, infections, and chronic conditions like GERD and sleep apnea.

If your throat tends to feel better soon after waking, you may want to drink more water or use a humidifier.

If that doesn’t solve your problem, it may be time to see a doctor. 

Did you know?
The average indoor humidity drops from 25 to 35 percent during the winter months. Temperatures are also much lower and may contribute to a sore throat.

Got a case of the scratchy throat in the morning? Can’t figure out why?

Your throat can hurt when you wake up for many reasons, not all of which have to do with the common cold. Air quality can sometimes be a factor, as can any underlying issues with your sleep.

Thankfully, solving the problem is often as simple as knowing a few of the triggers.

Potential Causes Of Throat Pain In The Morning

Waking up with a sore throat usually means one of two things: an issue from within or a problem with the air outside your body.

From there, the causes get a little more specific. Here are a few to think about.

Potential Causes Of Throat Pain In The Morning

Dehydration

Have you ever played sports in hot weather and found yourself lunging for a bottle of water? That feeling means you’re dehydrated, and it can lead your body’s tissues to dry up

If you go to sleep in that state, it’s a long 8 hours to morning, and by that point you may have already woken up with a sore throat. You may also wake up groggy since dehydration can harm the quality of your sleep.

Dry Air

Another great way to wring the fluids out of your mouth is with dry air. Depending on where you live and the way you sleep, this may be the most likely factor. Here are a few situations to keep your eye out for:

  • Sleeping with an air conditioner. Keeping cool is great for sleep, but the AC also dries up the room. If it’s pointed at or near you, you may have a problem.
  • Winter. Even in more humid locations, the colder months are usually drier.
  • Dry climates. Think locations with fewer bodies of water. 

Breathing-Related Sleep Issues

If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you may have the answer to the question of why you wake up with a sore throat every day. And if you haven’t been diagnosed yet, it may be time to see a doctor if you have a tendency to wake your partner with loud snoring.

Sleep apnea is a condition where the passage of air is blocked, either by loose tissue in the back of the throat (obstructive sleep apnea) or because your brain isn’t sending the right signals (central sleep apnea). In either case, breathing is restricted and the patient starts sawing logs.

However, you don’t need sleep apnea to snore, and any type of snoring can leave you with a sore throat in the morning.

Allergies Or Air Pollution

Allergies and air pollution can also make it harder to breathe during sleep. Whether it’s a reaction to something you’ve come in contact with, seasonal allergies, or high levels of pollution in the air, your body may react by blocking the airway. This can lead to excessive mouth breathing that dries your airway out.

Of course, reactions to the air in and of itself may be another reason your throat hurts when waking up.

Viral Or Bacterial Infections

You could also be reacting to bacteria or a virus that’s already inside of your body. After all, when you have a sore throat, the common cold is likely the first thing that comes to mind.

Bacterial infections are another possibility, as are some of the following conditions:

  • Mononucleosis
  • Measles
  • COVID-19 

GERD

Finally, your throat may hurt when you wake up because of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It’s an issue that many people face, often brought on by drinking alcohol or eating spicy foods.

If you’re affected by GERD, you may experience stomach acid making its way up your digestive tract as you lay in a horizontal position. This can irritate the throat, often without you noticing as you sleep.

Our Cuddler body pillow may be able to help with this, as it can keep you in a left-side sleeping position for longer - the best way to aid digestion during sleep. As an added benefit, body pillows can help with snoring, too.

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Treatment Options For A Sore Throat

The best way to treat any symptom is to find the root cause, and the best way to do that is to talk to a doctor.

With that said, some of the treatment options may include:

  • Staying hydrated throughout the day and drinking enough water to see you through the night – but not so much that you end up making trips to the bathroom
  • Avoiding late night snacks, especially spicy food and alcohol
  • Cold or allergy medication if you’ve determined the cause
  • A CPAP machine if you have sleep apnea
  • A humidifier in your bedroom 

Morning Sore Throat Home Remedies

If you’re waking up with a sore throat every morning, there are two quick remedies that you can try. The first is gargling warm salt water and ending with a round of regular water. This can help to fight potential bacterial infections and keep your throat hydrated.

The second option is to ease the symptom with herbal drinks like peppermint tea or using lozenges.

Summary FAQs

Looking for more answers? Here are some common questions on the topic of morning throat pain.

How Do You Get Rid Of A Sore Throat In The Morning?

Getting rid of a sore throat in the morning means ruling out several possible causes. For example, drinking more water throughout the day may help, as can using a humidifier to make the air less dry.

If that doesn’t work, it may be time to consult a doctor to assess the root problem. This could be something temporary like the common cold or something chronic like GERD or sleep apnea.

Why Does A Sore Throat Hurt So Much In The Morning

Why Does A Sore Throat Hurt So Much In The Morning?

Sore throats tend to hurt more in the morning because that’s usually when your body is lowest on fluids. The pain can also worsen from there in those who snore during sleep or breathe through their mouths.

Add a cold virus on top of that and you have a recipe for inflamed tissue and mucus in the throat to build up and become agitated by the time you wake.

How Many Hours Does A Sore Throat Last?

A sore throat in the morning may last for a few hours if the problem has to do with breathing dry air throughout the night or dehydration. However, sore throats can last for days on end if the root issue is a viral or bacterial infection.

If you have a sore throat when you wake up that goes away shortly after and there are no other symptoms, you may want to consider a humidifier or drinking more water.

Conclusion

Getting to the bottom of a scratchy, raw feeling in your throat each morning is often a matter of ruling out the possibilities. The issue could be as simple as overly-dry air or viral infections like the cold. It could also be a condition that’s more difficult to detect, like GERD or sleep apnea.

Once you find the problem, solutions can involve everything from humidifiers to body pillows like our Cuddler to ease indigestion and snoring. If that doesn’t work, see what a doctor says and you’ll be on the mend in no time.