Sore, dry throats can occur in the morning even when you aren’t sick. Fortunately, this dry and sore throat is typically related to irritation and tends to improve as the day wears on. Home remedies to reduce dryness can help improve your symptoms. However, in some cases a sore throat may be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, or a less common medical condition, so if your symptoms worsen or persist, or if you have a fever or rash, see your doctor.
Snoring and sleeping with your mouth open commonly cause a dry, sore throat by morning. Inhaling dry air during the night can dry out the mouth and throat, causing soreness. Usually the open-mouth sleeping occurs due to congestion, or something obstructing the nose. Dehydration can cause less mucus to be produced, so one of the best ways to counter this dry, sore throat is to stay well hydrated. Drink according to your thirst during the day, then drink some water before bed. If you wake up during the night, sip on water again, and drink more water in the morning.
Breathing in dry air can also cause your mouth and throat to dry out. You can counter the effects of dry air by running a humidifier in your bedroom while you sleep. The tiny droplets of water the humidifier adds to the air can help the mucous membranes stay more moist, even if you are breathing through your mouth because of a stuffy nose. Use only sterile or distilled water in your humidifier, and clean your humidifier regularly to avoid allowing a buildup of molds and bacteria. Taking a steamy bath or shower may also help ease your symptoms.
If you wake up with a dry, sore throat, simply having something hot or cold to drink can be soothing. Try a cup of tea with honey or a cup of water. Honey has antibacterial and antioxidant properties, according to the June 2013 issue of “Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences.” Honey is also touted to soothe a sore throat, although there is little quality research confirming this benefit. Sucking on cough drops or hard candy can help your dry throat because this can stimulate more saliva production. If your throat is more sore than dry, sucking on a popsicle or ice cubes can temporarily numb your throat, reducing the pain.
If your sore and dry throat is related to a bacterial infection, gargling with warm salt water can make the mucous membranes less hospitable to bacteria. Stir a maximum of 1 tsp. of salt into a pint of warm water, and gargle with that as often you desire. Avoid using more salt than recommended, as this will dry out your throat more, exacerbating the irritation. Another option is to use an antiseptic mouthwash.
Treatment and Precautions
Environmental irritants such as smoke, pollen or pet dander can irritate the throat and potentially cause dryness and soreness, so not smoking, and seeking treatment for allergies is important. Sometimes a dry, sore throat is a symptom of another health problem, such as a viral or bacterial infection or sleep apnea -- a condition characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. Snoring and mouth breathing are signs of sleep apnea -- and waking up with a dry, sore throat is common with this condition. Other less common conditions can cause dry and sore throat, so see your doctor if your sore throat gets worse, persists, or if you have a high fever or rash.
- Journal of Sleep Research: Dry Mouth Upon Awakening in Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Journal of Voice: Influence of Abusive Vocal Habits, Hydration, Mastication, and Sleep in the Occurrence of Vocal Symptoms in Teachers.
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research: Dry Mouth
- Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences: Traditional and Modern Uses of Natural Honey in Human Diseases: A Review.