Why Does My Throat Hurt When I Wake Up? 7 Reasons (and Solutions!)


Does your throat feel scratchy, dry, or sore when waking up? That’s not exactly the best way to start your day, is it?


Consistently waking up with a sore throat is not only uncomfortable but is often a sign that something’s not quite right…


In this article, we’ll explore seven potential reasons why your throat might hurt when you wake up and some of the soothing solutions for long-term relief.


The Main Reasons You’re Waking Up with a Dry or Sore Throat


There are several reasons why your throat might feel dry or sore each morning, all of which can be worsened by the fact that we naturally produce less saliva at night, which is important to keep our throats moist and comfortable. [1]


Environmental factors such as air dryness can disrupt the lubrication in our throats, leading to pain, while allergen exposure can cause irritation and a post-nasal drip.


Mouth breathing and snoring are also common causes of waking up with a sore throat, as well as conditions like GERD, infections, smoking, or even simply dehydration from not drinking enough water during the day. 


But, let's explore some of these reasons in more detail and offer potential solutions and some relief.

7 Reasons You Might Be Waking Up With a Sore Throat


Understanding the triggers behind your sore throat is the first step towards finding relief and ensuring your mornings begin on a better note.


So, let's dive a little deeper into the potential reasons behind your throat discomfort and what you can do about it.


1) Snoring and Mouth breathing


Snoring and mouth breathing while sleeping are among the most common contributors that cause a sore throat in the mornings.


When you breathe through your mouth or snore, air flows over your throat area at a much higher rate than normal, which can cause the mucus membranes in your throat to dry out. [2]


If the mucus membranes of your throat aren’t properly lubricated, this can lead to irritation and soreness - resulting in an uncomfortable sensation when you wake up. 


The airway vibrations from snoring can also further irritate the area, leading to inflammation and pain.


If this is the reason behind your sore throat, addressing the underlying root causes of mouth breathing and snoring is important. This could be congestion, poor breathing habits, sleep position, or even allergies.


Learn more about why you might be mouth breathing and can't breathe through your nose <--- in our ultimate guide.


The practice of mouth taping is an effective strategy to stop mouth breathing and snoring in its tracks, and users frequently report relief from throat discomfort and dryness upon waking up. Yes, please! [3]





Try Dream Recovery Mouth Tape for restful sleep and better throat health.


2) Allergies


Allergies are a common cause of a sore throat and can be triggered by dust, mold, pollen, and pet dander.


Allergens can trigger a series of biochemical reactions within your mucus membranes, causing inflammation and nasal congestion, leading to what’s known as a post-nasal drip, in which excess mucus starts to trickle down the back of the throat slowly.[4]


This mucus can irritate the delicate membranes of your throat while you sleep, leading to pain and soreness when waking up.


To make things worse, having a runny nose and nasal congestion from allergies can also cause you to breathe through your mouth at night, exacerbating dryness and throat pain.


The first step to addressing symptoms related to allergies is reducing your exposure as much as possible by:

  • Using a high-quality air filter
  • Getting allergen-friendly bedding and pillows
  • Closing your windows when pollen counts are high
  • Bathing your pets regularly to reduce pet dander

If you’re unsure of what allergens you might be reacting to, have a chat about allergy testing with your healthcare provider and take it from there.


3) Infections


Waking up with a sore throat can often be a telltale sign of an infection, such as a cold, the flu, or strep throat. 


The mucus membranes of our nose and throat are one of the first lines of defense against outside bugs and pathogens, making them susceptible to bacterial and viral infections.


As your immune system kicks into high gear to fight off these invaders, it can cause your throat to feel sore, scratchy, and uncomfortable. 


During sleep, when you're not swallowing as frequently, the pain and irritation can feel more pronounced upon waking. 


Additionally, your body's increased mucus production in response to the infection can exacerbate the soreness through post-nasal drip, further irritating your throat. [5]


Proper rest, hydration, nourishment from whole foods, and medical treatment, if needed, can help your body combat the infection and alleviate your sore throat.


4) Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)


GERD, short for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, is a common condition affecting around 20% of the US population.[6]


In GERD, stomach acid sneaks its way into the esophagus, where it's not supposed to be. 


Then, when you’re lying down while sleeping, some of this acid reflux can make its way up toward your throat, causing irritation, inflammation, and sometimes a burning sensation.


Understandably, this can leave your throat feeling sore and raw when you wake up in the morning.


The good news is that GERD can be managed with:


  • Dietary changes (common trigger foods include tomatoes, chocolate, alcohol, and dairy)
  • Lifestyle adjustments like losing weight or quitting smoking
  • Elevating your head and neck while sleeping
  • Herbal remedies like ginger, licorice, or slippery elm
  • Over-the-counter or prescription medications


If you think you may be struggling with GERD, it’s important to discuss the best treatment options with your healthcare provider.


5) Smoking


It’s probably no surprise that smoking can lead to a sore throat upon waking.


Cigarette smoke contains a mixture of chemicals, including nicotine, tar, and a variety of other toxins, which can inflame and damage the delicate tissues of the throat. 


The irritation caused by smoking is often exacerbated during sleep because saliva production decreases, which reduces the natural lubrication and protection of the throat's mucus membranes. 


Consequently, smokers may experience dryness, a scratchy sensation, and inflammation, leading to a sore throat in the morning.[7]


Over time, the repeated irritation can cause chronic soreness and increase the risk of other more serious throat conditions.


Interestingly, it’s often reported that a sore throat may worsen shortly after quitting smoking, particularly on day 3, but don’t despair, this uncomfortable symptom usually resolves completely within 2-4 weeks after quitting.


6) Dry Air


The air quality in your bedroom can play a big role in how your throat feels in the morning. If the air is overly dry, this can suck moisture from the delicate mucus membranes in your throat and nasal passages (see our guide on how to widen your nasal passages naturally)


When these tissues lack proper lubrication and moisture, they become dry and irritated, which can lead to a sore throat. You might also notice dry lips and skin. 


This issue can be particularly common in the wintertime or in regions with a dry climate. Indoor heating systems can also exacerbate dryness too![8]


Using a humidifier in your bedroom can add some much-needed moisture back into the air, helping to soothe your mucus membranes and keep your throat nice and lubricated. 

7) Dehydration


Water is an essential molecule that makes up around 60% of our bodies; however, according to surveys, a shocking 75% of Americans might be chronically dehydrated![9]


Fluids are essential to keep the throat feeling moist and healthy, and therefore, waking up with a sore throat can sometimes be a simple sign that you haven't drunk enough water.


Since we don’t drink water for several hours during the night, it can be easy to get dehydrated if you don’t hydrate yourself properly during the day, leading to dryness and a scratchy, uncomfortable feeling in your throat when you wake up.


Drinking a good amount of water consistently throughout the day and having a glass before bed (or a cup of herbal tea) can help keep your throat moist and reduce the chances of waking up feeling parched and sore. 



Waking Up With Sore Throat FAQs


How do you cure a dry throat?


The way to cure your dry throat will depend on the reason you have one. Common solutions for a dry throat include mouth tape to prevent mouth breathing and snoring, staying hydrated, using a humidifier to improve air quality, and reducing exposure to allergens.


Why do I have a sore throat but not sick?


You might have a sore throat without being sick due to chronic mouth breathing, GERD, environmental allergens, dehydration, dry air, or smoking. 


How long until a dry throat goes away?


The time it takes for your dry throat to go away depends on the cause. If your dry throat is caused by dehydration or dry air, you might experience relief when you start drinking enough water or using a humidifier. If you do not experience relief from a dry throat after 2 weeks, it’s always good to consult a healthcare provider.


Why do I wake up with a sore throat during winter?


You might wake up with a sore throat during winter as a result of lower humidity and exposure to cold air, which can dry out your throat, leading to irritation and pain. Heating systems can also dry out indoor air, worsening the issue further.


Summary: Start to Cure Your Dry Throat 


Waking up with a dry throat can be attributed to a variety of factors, from the environment around you to personal sleep habits and certain conditions.


Understanding the root causes, such as mouth breathing, snoring, allergies, infections, or even the air quality in your bedroom, is essential if you’re looking to alleviate throat pain in the morning.


While changes in lifestyle and your sleep environment can offer relief, one innovative solution stands out: Dream Recovery Mouth Tape.


This simple yet effective tool can help prevent unhealthy mouth breathing and snoring, reducing throat dryness and irritation right away.





Get your hands on Dream Recovery Mouth Tape today.



  1. Thie, N. M., Kato, T., Bader, G., Montplaisir, J. Y., & Lavigne, G. J. (2002). The significance of saliva during sleep and the relevance of oromotor movements. Sleep medicine reviews, 6(3), 213–227. https://doi.org/10.1053/smrv.2001.0183
  2. Fujita, Y., Yamauchi, M., Uyama, H., Oda, H., Igaki, M., Yoshikawa, M., & Kimura, H. (2019). The effects of heated humidification to nasopharynx on nasal resistance and breathing pattern. PloS one, 14(2), e0210957. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210957
  3. Lee, Y. C., Lu, C. T., Cheng, W. N., & Li, H. Y. (2022). The Impact of Mouth-Taping in Mouth-Breathers with Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Preliminary Study. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 10(9), 1755. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10091755
  4. Akhouri S, House SA. Allergic Rhinitis. (2023) In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538186/
  5. Zanin, M., Baviskar, P., Webster, R., & Webby, R. (2016). The Interaction between Respiratory Pathogens and Mucus. Cell host & microbe, 19(2), 159–168. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2016.01.001
  6. Maret-Ouda, J., Markar, S. R., & Lagergren, J. (2020). Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: A Review. JAMA, 324(24), 2536–2547. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.21360
  7. Şanlı, A., Bekmez, E., Yıldız, G., Erdoğan, B. A., Yılmaz, H. B., & Altın, G. (2016). Relationship between smoking and otorhinolaryngological symptoms. Kulak burun bogaz ihtisas dergisi : KBB = Journal of ear, nose, and throat, 26(1), 28–33. https://doi.org/10.5606/kbbihtisas.2016.87059
  8. Renner, B., Mueller, C. A., & Shephard, A. (2012). Environmental and non-infectious factors in the aetiology of pharyngitis (sore throat). Inflammation research: official journal of the European Histamine Research Society ... [et al.], 61(10), 1041–1052. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00011-012-0540-9
  9. Taylor K, Jones EB. Adult Dehydration. (2022). In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK555956/
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