If you wake up with a sore throat you may simply be developing the flu or a cold, however if it continues day after day and you have no other symptoms such as a runny nose, you may start to wonder if you are experiencing another type of problem. You may be putting your problem down to dry air or allergies, however there are several causes that could be behind the issue, and you could even be one of the 25% of people who are regular snorers.
Sore Throat When I Wake Up. What Could It Mean?
Waking every morning with a sore throat could be caused by one of the following problems:
- Acid Reflux
- Sleep Apnea
- Sleeping with your mouth open
It can be difficult to determine which of these issues you may be experiencing, however if there is someone who sleeps in the same room as you, you could start by asking them if you sleep with an open mouth or if you are a snorer. If you do suffer from either of these problems there are some things you could try to rectify the problem:
- Use a humidifier in the bedroom
- Gargle with warm, salty water (use quarter of a teaspoon of salt in half a cup of water)
- Increase the amount of liquid you drink during the day
- Drink caffeine free warm tea mixed with honey
If you find that that none of these measures are working, you should make an appointment to see your doctor as you could be suffering from acid reflux or sleep apnea. Many people who have sleep apnea have no idea they are suffering from the condition, however it can have serious health consequences. Do you sometimes wake during the night with a choking sensation? Are you always exhausted during the day? Do you have a headache along with your sore throat every morning? Sleep apnea is a problem that causes you to wake up several times during your sleep, so you could ask someone who shares your room to tell you if you are suffering from interrupted sleep. A sleep specialist can help if you are suffering from sleep apnea and you should seek treatment as soon as possible because it can lead to medical problems.
Acid reflux is a condition that is often overlooked as many sufferers only have symptoms during the night. Acid reflux causes stomach acid to be regurgitated into the back of the throat and this causes the soreness in the morning. To avoid this problem, do not eat near bedtime and cut back on drinking alcohol, consuming caffeine and smoking. You could also try tilting the bedframe so that the head is raised up by 4-6 inches higher than the foot as this will help to keep the acid in your stomach while you lie down. Even if you find relief from one of these measures, you should still see your doctor who can help you find a more permanent solution.
Mouth Breathing And Snoring – How Are These Two Connected?
There are several reasons for breathing through the mouth. If you have a deviated septum, nasal polyps, a sinus infection or swelling of the turbinate, this could be your problem. However, many people breathe through their mouths for no specific reason, and a lot of mouth breathers are also snorers since the air flowing through the mouth produces more vibration in the throat tissues than breathing through the nose. The soft palate extends from the roof of the mouth and separates the back of the mouth from the nasal passages. When you breathe through your nose, the soft palate is moved forward, opening the airways, and when you swallow, it moves further back, closing off the nasal passages and thus forcing liquids down your esophagus. A small extension known as the uvula is at the rear of the soft palate and this structure together with the soft palate itself vibrates to cause the sound of snoring. If you have been snoring heavily during the night, both of these structures can swell up and this may cause you to experience a sensation of gagging upon waking up. Although many people do breathe through their mouths, this is not the most efficient way of getting air into the lungs as the upper throat and the back of the mouth are not as well equipped as the nose to deal with the pollutants like dander and dust found in the air. Particles like these pollutants may cause irritation to the delicate throat tissues and this may also contribute to morning soreness along with the constant flow of air causing dryness.
Breathing Through The Nose
The best and most efficient way to breathe is to inhale air through the nose. This allow the air to warm up as it travels into the lungs while the nasal system filters out the pollutants and particles like dander and dust found in the air. This helps to protect the lungs.
Sore Throat And Snoring
There are two reasons behind your morning sore throat when it comes to snoring. The vibration of the tissues against your throat throughout the night causes constant friction which irritates the delicate tissues while the flow of air dries out the throat. As you are not swallowing during your sleep, the mucus membranes are not provided with enough moisture and this, paired with the fact that modern homes are quite dry due to cooling and heating systems, results in a painful throat in the morning.
What You Can Do
There are several things that you can do to remedy the problem of a sore throat caused by snoring. Firstly, you should cut back on smoking, and especially close to bedtime as it has a direct impact upon your snoring and painful throat. You should also increase your fluid intake throughout the day and drink a glass of water before falling asleep to keep the throat lubricated. A humidifier in your bedroom may help to prevent the air from drying out and exacerbating the problem and there are a couple of home remedies, such as gargling with warm salty water or drinking warm tea with honey that may also assist with the problem. Trying sleeping in a different position such as on your side instead of on your back may also help by preventing the jaw from hanging open. An anti-snoring mouthpiece is another popular solution since it prevents the wearer from breathing through their mouth. While some of these mouthpieces are quite bulky and may be unpleasant to wear at night, a small tongue retaining mouthpiece may present a more pleasant solution and will not impede normal breathing.
Can Snoring Mouthpieces Help?
An anti-snoring mouthpiece could be a good solution for anyone who finds that their own sleep and that of their nearest and dearest is being disturbed by snoring. Stop snoring mouthpieces hold the tongue or jaw in the correct forward position during sleep preventing the soft tissues of the throat from falling back and vibrating, thus preventing the friction that results in inflammation and soreness. If you breathe through your mouth in the night, you should choose a mouthpiece with an integrated air hole which allows you to breathe naturally while you are asleep.