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What Causes a Morning Sore Throat?

Updated on April 25, 2015

What is a morning sore throat?

If you are constantly getting up in the morning with a discomfort, pain or irritation in the throat, you probably have what is often called as morning sore throat. The soreness is quite troubling when you wake up in the morning and gets better within the next one hour or so.

While a viral or bacterial infection may be the cause, in many cases, the reasons my be something else. Let's have a look at some of the causes of a sore throat in the morning.

Causes of a Sore Throat in the Morning

A dry bedroom

The first thing that you should check is the humidity in your bedroom. If the air is too dry, it could be the reason for your morning sore throat. This is especially true for the dry winter months when the humidity levels are especially low. A ceiling fan also tends to dry up the moisture in the room and this is why some people may have a sore and dry throat in the morning.

If dryness in the room is a likely cause, try using a humidifier while sleeping. This will add a little moisture to the room and prevent dryness in the throat. You will also need to make sure that you are drinking enough fluids throughout the day to prevent dehydration in the morning.

Sleeping with an open mouth

If you are sleeping with your mouth open at night, then don't be surprised if you wake up with a sore throat. Sleeping with your mouth open can cause dryness and irritation in the throat on waking up. So, make sure to close your mouth while sleeping.

If your mouth is open while sleeping because you have problems breathing properly through your blocked nose, steam inhalation at night to clear up the nasal passages may help.


Here is another reason to quit smoking now! It may be the reason for your persistent morning sore throat. Smoking tends to dry out the throat, so stop right now. You may notice a difference within a few weeks of kicking this habit.

Smoking can cause a sore throat. Quit smoking now!
Smoking can cause a sore throat. Quit smoking now!

Sleep Apnea

If it is not the above often quite obvious reasons, you may have sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea tend to stop breathing for a few moments during their nightly sleep. You may need the help of a loved one to watch you while you are sleeping to see if you stop breathing or tend to snore sometime during the night.

If you are feeling sleepy in the morning and drowsy throughout the day, it may be due to sleep apnea. Consult a sleep specialist because sleep apnea can affect you in more ways than just giving you a morning sore throat.

Acid Reflux

Another probable cause of a sore throat in the morning may be acid reflux. This is a condition in which the stomach acids back up into your throat, making it dry, itchy and irritated.

You can easily combat this condition by introducing some lifestyle changes. Avoid eating too close to your bedtime. Keep a gap of around three hours between a meal and the time you go to bed. Avoid caffeine, alcohol or smoking before going to bed. It may be helpful to elevate your head about four to six inches so that you are sleeping in an upright position. This will prevent the acid from backing up into the throat.

Home Remedies for a Morning Sore Throat

Most morning sore throats tend to go away if you deal with the above issues. You can also try certain home remedies for your sore throat. These include drinking honey or lemon tea. Gargling with warm saline water may also help in preventing dryness in the throat. Throat lozenges promote saliva production and can help prevent a sore throat in the morning.

If nothing helps, it may be time to consult a doctor to find out what is it that is causing the morning sore throat.

Honey and lemon tea is a good remedy for a sore throat
Honey and lemon tea is a good remedy for a sore throat

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