While dry throat can be common during the cold winter months when the air is drier and upper respiratory infections are more rampant, it is important to identify when is the time to be concerned about a dry throat. Dry throat can be due to many causes: dehydration, allergies, sleeping with your mouth open, cold, flu, strep throat, acid reflux, mononucleosis, and tonsillitis. A dry throat, by the way, is not life-threatening, except in severe cases where medical help should be sought.
But is it normal to wake up with a dry mouth? Dr. Nate Favini, MD, MS, medical lead at Forward, a preventive primary care practice, told POPSUGAR in an interview that “waking up with a dry throat is quite common, especially for people who sleep with their mouths open at night.” He also emphasized the fact that a dry throat becomes more common during the fall and winter, as people would heat their rooms at night, which can dry out the air.
“When you’re breathing at night, you are breathing out water vapor and breathing in drier air from your surrounding environment, which is generally what causes you to wake up with a dry throat in the morning.” This is why, as Dr. Favini explained, when you tend to sleep with your mouth open at night, you are more susceptible to a dry throat, as you exhale more water vapor and inhale more dry air.
Having a dry throat can be irritating, but it shouldn’t be a cause for serious concern, except perhaps when you’re also experiencing a sore throat, fever, and shortness of breath. When these symptoms appear, Dr. Favini explained, it is imperative to go see a doctor immediately for a checkup as it can be a more concerning sign, especially given the spread of COVID-19.
So how can you remedy a dry throat? Dr. Favini advised drinking a cup of hot tea with honey or sucking on a throat lozenge before bed to cover your throat, which can prevent dryness. He also suggested sleeping with a humidifier on as a great way to reduce the dry throat that occurs while you sleep.