If you tend to get recurring sore throats at night, only to experience none of the ‘expected’ additional symptoms that would be present if it were caused by a cold or by the flu, then it is possible that the problem is actually being caused by snoring.
People call these types of sore throats ‘Evening Sore Throats,’ because they tend to happen in the evening and on into the night. Then, when you wake up wondering why your throat feels scratchy, you are left with a frustrating puzzle that can be tough to figure out.
Well, this is not such an uncommon occurrence, but there are still a few things that you should know.
Why Does My Throat Hurt at Night?
When people think of a sore throat, they usually think of illness. The truth is that this can be a symptom for a wide range of different problems, ranging from a common cold, to allergies, to a serious upper respiratory infection, to strep throat, etc.
Basically anything that causes excess mucus drainage can lead to a sore throat overnight, because when you sleep, the extra mucus can run down the back of your throat, causing soreness. This is why a lot of sore throats hit their peak at night, and then tend to subside during the day.
But sore throats are not just symptoms. They can also serve as a warning sign, to let you know that there might be a different issue at work. In a sense, you can sometimes think of a sore throat as a clue that can help you figure out the real problem… and when it comes to snoring-related sore throats, this is exactly the case.
But as a general rule, if your sore throat tends to occur only in the evening, and if it is a recurring problem, then you should probably take a look at your environment—because if you don’t really have any other symptoms, there is a good chance that this is just a clue warning you that something around you (or inside of you) is just not quite right.
Livestrong.com says that you might want to check your environment for allergens if you experience evening sore throats on a regular basis. Pollen, pet dander, mold, smoke, and/or dry air can all be potential problems. It is also possible that stomach acid could be to blame if you happen to suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease.
You can even strain your throat muscles from talking or yelling too much in one day! There are actually a lot of things that can cause this issue, so it is important to do some productive problem solving/detective work to try to figure out what the culprit could be.
How to Figure Out What Is Causing Your Sore Throat
Figuring out exactly what is causing your sore throat can be a pretty daunting chore, especially if it is a reoccurring thing. If it is happening on a somewhat regular basis, then you know that you probably have some kind of ‘problem’ or ‘cause’ that you need to address.
But weeding out the numerous possibilities and getting to the root of the issue can take some patience and determination.
The first thing you should do, though, is to figure out if you have any other symptoms.
Webmd.com says that you probably don’t need to see a doctor for most sore throats… but there are some signs that you should watch out for.
Do you also have a runny nose and/or a cough, a mild fever, and fatigue? Are you sneezing?
If so, then you may be suffering from a minor viral infection, such as a common cold, or maybe even a flu.
Obviously, a flu is usually worse than a common cold, but both are viral. And with that being the case, antibiotics are not going to be of much help.
Do you have throat pain, white patches on your tonsils, a fever, and swollen lymph nodes?
If so, then it is very possible that you have Strep Throat. One thing about strep is that it is usually not accompanied by a cough or a runny nose, so that is one way that you can tell it apart from the type of sore throat you get with the flu.
Is your sore throat accompanied by a dry, persistent cough? Do you sometimes have trouble swallowing, or feel like you have a lump in your throat?
If these are symptoms that you suffer from, it is possible that acid reflux is to blame.
Are you sneezing and experiencing a runny nose along with your sore throat, but without a fever or the fatigue that comes with a cold or flu?
If so, then it is very possible that you are experiencing allergies. This can be a difficult problem to have, because allergies can be tough to pin down. You might have to look at your environment and keep an eye out for clues to figure out exactly what is causing the issue.
The most common triggers for allergies include things like certain foods and medications, insect stings, and latex. As far as environmental factors go, though, you are looking at a high likelihood that your problem is being caused by pollen, mold, dust mites, wood smoke, or animal dander.
Is it possible that you are experiencing an allergic reaction to any one of these? You may need to try isolating yourself from one or more of these things for a period of time (two to three weeks) to see if your condition improves. If you remove something and end up getting better, you will likely have found the problem.
How to Figure Out If Snoring Is Causing The Sore Throat
If you suspect that snoring is to blame for your scratchy, raspy morning sore-throat, then you are certainly not alone.
Mayo Clinic’s website has actually published a really informative list of symptoms that are often associated with snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, but not any other symptoms that would seem to point toward a viral or bacterial infection or allergies, then it is very possible that your sore throat is actually being caused by snoring or sleep apnea.
Of course, this can be a tricky thing—because sometimes, snoring itself can be caused by allergies. Let’s talk about this for a moment.
Why Am I Snoring in the First Place?
This is not always the easiest question to answer.
Snoring usually happens because of a phenomenon called ‘soft palate vibration.’ This happens when loose, soft tissue in the throat restricts the airway during sleep. When this happens, the motion of the air coming in and out of lungs causes this soft tissue to vibrate, which produces the sounds that we have all come to associate with snoring.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea happens the same way, except that it is actually just a worse version of the same problem. If the loose tissue in the airway takes up too much room, it might block off the airway completely… which means that the individual might even stop breathing for a short period of time.
If they do, their brain will ‘wake them up’ when it realizes that there is no oxygen coming in, which will cause them to gasp or ‘choke’ for air. But the problem is that this doesn’t usually fully wake the person to the point where they realize that they have been woken up—though it does impact their sleep cycle.
And that is the big issue, because it destroys their quality of sleep.
But snoring and OSA can also be caused by a number of different things. Being overweight, smoking, drinking alcohol, taking some types of medication, being dehydrated, and suffering from allergies are all possible contributors to the problem.
The problem also tends to get worse for people as they get older.
And in some cases, there might even be physical, anatomical reasons for the snoring problem. If the individual has a deviated septum, extra throat tissue, enlarged tonsils, a long uvula, or large adenoids, they may be more prone to snoring than someone who does not.
Why Do I Wake Up Every Morning With a Sore Throat If I Snore?
So why exactly does snoring cause a sore throat?
As it turns out, there are two main reasons for this.
The first reason is related to the vibration that causes snoring to begin with. When your throat vibrates during snoring, you are actually experiencing a lot of friction in those soft, delicate tissues of the upper airway—and this can most certainly leave you feeling sore the next morning.
The second actually has more to do with your throat being dry than anything else. A lot of snorers tend to breathe through their mouth. And when this happens, the airflow tends to hit the soft palate and wick away the moisture. Mouth breathers and snorers also tend to swallow less during sleep, which means that their throat is not only being exposed to more dry air, but that it is not being moisturized as often by the mucus membranes.
So by the time morning hits, you wake up with a very dry throat that is sore and scratchy.
How to Know If You Should Talk to Your Doctor About a Sore Throat
If we went to the doctor every time we felt a scratchy sore throat, we would probably be at the doctor’s office far too often for anyone’s own good. A lot of the time, minor sore throats do not necessitate a trip to the local clinic.
But with that being said, there are times when you should probably take a sore throat more seriously… namely, when it is just one of two or more symptoms that could indicate a larger underlying problem.If any of these symptoms appear along with the sore throat, then it is absolutely possible that you are not just dealing with a snoring-related problem, and that you should contact your doctor. Obviously, most sore throats are not a big issue—but it is always a good idea to make sure. You know what they say… better safe than sorry!
But what can you do about your sore throat if you do believe it to be snoring related?
How Do You Get Your Throat to Stop Hurting?
If you are suffering from a sore throat and believe that snoring is likely the culprit, then you have two different methods of treatment at your disposal.
- You can treat the symptom
- You can treat the problem
Ideally, you would want to do both. Treating the symptoms are a good idea in the short term because this will eliminate a lot of needless pain and suffering.
But if you do not treat the problem itself, you will likely just have to keep dealing with the issue—and nobody wants to do that.
How to Make Your Sore Throat Feel Better
Making your sore throat feel better will depend a lot on what types of remedies you like to use, but any of the following could be useful.
Obviously, some of these are going to work better for a snoring-related sore throat than others, but the main idea is to find something that will soothe the pain and irritation away so that you can get past the discomfort and back to feeling ‘normal’ again as soon as possible.
How to Get Rid of the ‘Cause’ of a Snoring-Related Sore Throat
Snoring is a tricky problem because there can be a number of different causes for it. And what works for some people may not work for other people who are experiencing the same issue.
For some people, lifestyle changes are the best method to use to combat snoring and OSA. Losing weight, quitting cigarettes, cutting back on alcohol consumption, exercising more, and sleeping on the side instead of the back can all be methods that help in the long run.
But for some people, more help may be required—especially in the short-term. For these people, surgery can be an option, though it is often undesirable because it is relatively invasive, expensive, and a bit time-consuming. Plus, a lot of people hate the idea of going to a surgery to solve a problem like snoring.
And the kicker is that even if a person gets surgery, it is not necessarily guaranteed to work.
With that being said, many people are starting to turn to alternative therapies for snoring—and some of these therapies include the use of stop snoring devices and mouthpieces.
Stop-snoring devices can be super-helpful in a lot of ways. They can help to supplement anti-snoring efforts while longer-term lifestyle changes are implemented, but they can also provide long-term benefits themselves if consistently used and applied.
There are a number of different types of anti-snoring devices on the market, though stop snoring mouthpieces, such as mandibular advancement devices and tongue stabilization devices, seem to be the most popular and effective.
There are also nasal strips, chin-straps, stop snoring pillows, nasal dilators, and a host of new ‘smart’ technology systems designed to be used in conjunction with your smart phone on the market… giving snorers more options than ever before if they want to help kick their snoring problems to the curb!
But the most important thing to remember is this: That snoring is not just a minor annoyance. Yes, it may seem that way because of how common it is, but it can actually be quite damaging to your health and well-being.
So if you think that you may have a snoring or OSA problem, then remember that it is absolutely in your best interest to try to get it fixed as soon as possible!