Throat hurts after waking up

Why does my throat hurt when I wake up?

Waking up after a good night’s rest is something everyone looks forward to. We all expect to wake up feeling good and with a clear mind. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. You sometimes wake up in the morning only to find out that your throat hurt or you have developed an expected problem overnight, a sore throat.

This can come as a shock because you were fine the day before or even before you went to bed. 

You make up the next morning with a throat that hurts, itchy, scratchy, and dry. This makes things very painful to swallow and makes you feel uncomfortable in general. This has happened to at least every one of us and many of us do not know why.

In this article, you will get to know why your throat hurts when you wake up, what causes it and how to treat it.

What is a sore throat?

Sore throat is the pain or irritation that occurs in the throat. It is caused by a bacterial infection It is usually accompanied by infections such as a cold or flu. It can also be caused as a result of 

  • overusing your voice, 
  • a burn from hot food, 
  • a very dry mouth or 
  • even sleeping with your mouth open

Why does my throat hurt when I wake up?

There are many reasons why your throat feels sore when you wake up. 

  • Dehydration, 
  • sleep apnea, 
  • snoring, 
  • allergies, 
  • acid reflux, etc 

are part of the many reasons why your throat hurts when you wake up. According to the NCBI, viruses account for about 85% to 95% of throat infections in adults.

Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the causes of sore throat.

Dehydration causing your throat to hurt when you wake up

One reason why your throat hurts when you wake up is due to dehydration. Dehydration can make your throat feel dry, itchy, or scratchy. 

Sleeping can make you prone to dehydration and sore throat because when you sleep, your body goes without water for several hours. And so when you wake up in the morning, you feel discomfort in your throat. 

You can remedy this by drinking some amount of water before you go to bed. You can also sleep with a glass of water next to you so that you can take sips when you wake up during the night.

Sleep apnea causing your throat to hurt when you wake up

If you have sleep apnea, the chances of you waking up the next morning with a sore or itchy throat are relatively high. (Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts)

Snoring, a symptom of sleep apnea irritates the throat. It is very difficult to ignore a snore.

Allergies causing your throat to hurt when you wake up

Allergies can cause your throat to feel sore when you wake up. If you are allergic to something and exposed to it during the daytime, it makes your immune system react to it as if your body is being attacked. 

Allergens such as dust, pollen, mold, perfumes, pet fur, etc could cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up. Sometimes during the evening and nighttime hours, you can feel your throat having a scratchy feeling or sensation.

Post Nasal drip causing your throat to hurt when you wake up

Another culprit of you having a sore throat when you wake up is a postnasal drip. Post Nasal drip happens when your body has excess mucus draining from your sinuses into the back of your throat. 

This drainage can cause your throat to feel scratchy or hurt. Post Nasal drip can be triggered by many things such as; 

  • medications, 
  • changes in the weather, 
  • dust, 
  • allergies, 
  • eating spicy foods, 
  • having a deviated septum amongst others. 

You can experience other symptoms such as feeling nauseated from drainage moving into your stomach, feeling like you need to clear your throat or swallow constantly, your cough getting worse at night, foul-smelling breath, amongst others.

Acid reflux causing your throat to hurt when you wake up

Acid reflux, also known as Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or heartburn is a common condition of the digestive tract. In GERD, the sphincter located at the bottom of the esophagus is too weak to stay closed as tightly as it should.

This causes regurgitation of your stomach acid, which can cause a burning sensation in your chest or the back of your throat. The acid can irritate your throat and make it hurt. It can also damage the tissue in both your throat and esophagus.

GERD tends to be worse right after meals or at bedtime, as lying down flat can encourage reflux. If you’re experiencing a recurring sore throat at night, you might have GERD. 

Difficulty in swallowing, sore taste in your mouth, heartburn, burning, and irritation in the middle of the stomach are all things you can experience with GERD.

Dry indoor air causing your throat to hurt when you wake up

Your nasal passages and throat can get dry during the night if the air in your room is especially dry. This can cause you to have a hurting throat when you wake up.

Epiglottitis causing your throat to hurt when you wake up

The epiglottis is a small, movable lid just above the larynx that prevents food and drink from entering your windpipe. In the case of epiglottitis, your windpipe gets covered resulting in your windpipe getting inflamed and swollen.

Caused by a bacterial or viral infection, the swelling of the epiglottis can cause a life-threatening breathing obstruction. It can also cause a severe sore throat. Having epiglottitis can cause your throat to feel sore when you wake up after sleeping. 

This condition requires emergency medical care when it worsens. Some symptoms of epiglottitis include muffled voice, noisy breathing, feeling of breathlessness or being winded, fever and sweats, breathing troubles, trouble when it comes to swallowing, etc.

Can sore throat or hurting throat be treated?

Mild sore throats can be treated with simple home remedies. If your sore throat is severe, then you may need medical attention.

Here are some of the things you can do at home to treat a sore throat

  • 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 are over 1 year old.
  • Suck on ice chips or popsicles to soothe your throat. Hard candies or lozenges can also be used.
  • Sip a little grape juice mixed with a small amount of apple cider vinegar
  • Sip warm tea or water with honey and lemon

Waking up to a sore throat is common. When you wake up and you realize that you have one, do not panic, try and determine the cause of the sore throat and try any of the home remedies stated above to try and treat it.

Key Takeaway from this article

There are several possible reasons why your throat may hurt when you wake up. Some of which include overnight dehydration, dry air, allergies, etc.

Some of the remedies you can use include drinking water before bed or having water close by so you can take some sips anytime you wake up. You may also want to gargle some salty water when you wake up with a hurting throat.

WRITTEN AND EDITED RESPECTIVELY BY:

Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies.

His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content.

He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.

Dr. Ehoneah Obed (Pharmacist)

Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies. His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content. He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.

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