Waking Up With Sore Throat: What to Know

Is your throat dry, scratchy, or itchy? Is it painful to swallow? These are signs of a sore throat. You may think you’re coming down with a viral infection. But if you’re not feeling sick and don’t have a fever, but continue to wake up with a sore throat, there might be other things causing it.

Sore Throat Causes

Signs and symptoms of a sore throat can vary depending on what’s causing it.

Possible causes include:

Dehydration. Your body doesn’t do well if you don’t drink enough water or if you sweat too much too quickly. Dehydration can also happen if you’re taking medications that make you urinate more or lose water weight. At night, when you go for hours without water, you might wake up with a dry mouth and a scratchy throat that makes it hard to swallow.

Feeling thirsty is a sign you’re already dehydrated. The best way to treat dehydration and dry throat is to drink plenty of water. You can also use rehydration mixes or powders that add electrolytes back into your system.

The amount of water you need each day depends on your age, height, weight, and the local weather. The standard recommendation is eight glasses of water per day, but ask your doctor about what’s right for you.

Snoring and sleep apnea. Everybody snores at some point in their life. Loud, harsh-sounding snores happen when your throat muscles relax and the air flowing through your windpipe vibrates the tissue around it.

The constant vibration in your airway from snoring is a common cause of a sore throat. Snoring is also closely connected with mouth breathing, which can make your mouth dry and your throat scratchy when you wake up.

Although snoring is common, chronic snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder where your breathing can start and stop several times during the night. There are different types of sleep apnea, but the most common type is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). About 22 million Americans have it.

When you have OSA, your throat muscles relax and block your airway when you lie down. This makes it hard to breathe. Waking up with a sore throat or a dry mouth is one of the telltale signs.


If you’re allergic to environmental allergens such as pollen, mold, animal dander, or dust mites, being around them can irritate your nose and airways. This could lead to an itchy or scratchy sore throat. Most allergy medications (antihistamines) are available over the counter and can ease some of the irritation. If you’re not sure what you’re allergic to, ask your doctor.

Viral infections

Viruses that cause infections like the common cold or the flu are often the cause for a sore throat.

Acid reflux

This is a digestive disorder that happens when your stomach acid comes back up your esophagus into your throat. The medical term for it is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Other symptoms can include heartburn, a hoarse voice, or a sore throat that feels lumpy when you wake up in the morning.

If you’re having acid reflux, tell your doctor. You can also take over-the-counter medications to ease your digestion issues.

What Can You Do to Feel Better?

While severe sore throats may need medical attention, there are things you can do at home to ease the symptoms.

You can:

  • Suck on ice chips or popsicles to soothe your throat. You can also try hard candies or lozenges.
  • Use a humidifier if there’s dry air where you sleep.
  • Gargle with salt water to curb the itching in your throat.
  • Drink warm beverages and plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Use honey to ease coughs for adults. Children can have honey if they’re over 1 year old.

Source: webmd.com



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