Here's Why Your Throat Is Itchy At Night

You don't have a cold and it's not allergy season — so why are you tossing and turning all night from an itchy throat? It's certainly no fun. However, you may be surprised to know that a scratchy nighttime throat isn't all that unusual. Rather, it's often a natural consequence of the fact that our body tends to be less hydrated at night than it is during the day.

When sleeping, our body dials back on saliva production (via Times of India). Even more, some people experience nighttime sweating, which means the body is leached of even more fluid. Additionally, our swallowing frequency decreases as we sleep. According to experts at Speech Pathology Australia, we tend to swallow as many as 700 times per day. The University of Pittsburgh reports that this number may be even higher, with humans swallowing as many as 3,000 times daily. Come nighttime, however, this number drops to just about three swallows per hour. As a result, because our body is swallowing far less when we snooze, it's easy for mucus to accumulate (per AIMS Healthcare). The body instead resorts to mouth-breathing, which can leave our throat feeling dry and itchy.

Other reasons your throat may be itchy at night

In other cases, an itchy throat that comes about at night may be the result of specific outside factors. This can include smoking, coffee or alcohol consumption, or the use of certain medications. In some areas, air pollution may be the cause, reports the Times of India. If that's the case, your itchy throat may be accompanied by additional symptoms, such as wheezing, coughing, burning sensations in the eyes, nasal discomfort, or more. Alternatively, various health conditions can also produce an itchy nighttime throat. This may be the case for those who deal with acid reflux, allergies, sleep apnea, or a viral infection, for example.

So how can we relieve this pesky itching? Be sure to stay hydrated during waking hours, first and foremost. If your itchy throat wakes you up during the course of the night, consider pouring a hot cup of chamomile tea to help ease the discomfort. Conversely, avoid beverages that may aggravate itching at night, such as caffeinated drinks or alcohol.

Tips for alleviating an itchy throat at night

If tea isn't doing the trick, here are some alternate items you can reach for instead. For instance, try swallowing a spoonful of honey or adding it to a cup of hot water to alleviate itchiness. Alternatively, sucking on a lozenge can also help relieve throat irritation, as well as boost saliva production (via WebMD). Just as lozenges can provide a cooling effect on the throat, so can peppermint mouth spray (due to its menthol ingredient). Similarly, relief can also be found in eating cold items, such as frozen popsicles. You can also try running a humidifier at night to keep the surrounding air moist as you sleep.

If an itchy throat is bothering you on a long-term basis, see your doctor to determine whether or not the itching may be due to illness. This is particularly true if your symptoms do not subside with at-home care or if you experience fever, a sore throat, or pain when swallowing. Symptoms such as swelling, breathing difficulty, hives, wheezing, or constriction in the throat warrant urgent medical care.