What It Really Means When You Wake Up With A Sore Throat

Waking up with a sore throat can be worrying. Did you sleep with the window open, are you dehydrated, or did you catch a cold? There are many reasons your throat may be scratchy in the morning.

Abnormally dry air in your bedroom is one potential culprit. Breathing in dry air all night long can dry up the moisture in your throat and make it feel sore the next morning. "Cool air from an open window can help people breathe better, unless the air is very dry," Michael Benninger, MD, Head & Neck Institute Chairman, told Cleveland Clinic. Some people sleep with fans to cool down their bedroom, but the extra air blowing around can dry out your throat. "I suggest facing the fan away from you. It will still circulate the air while producing background noise," Benninger said.

If the air in your bedroom is dry, use a humidifier to add moisture to the area. Making sure you stay hydrated during the day can also help. In addition to a morning sore throat, other signs of dehydration include tiredness, headache, dizziness, cramps, swollen feet, constipation, sensitivity to heat, and dark-colored urine (via WebMD). Aim for at least eight glasses of water per day.

A morning sore throat can indicate an oncoming cold

The first thing everyone fears when they have a sore throat is the possibility that they're catching a cold. According to Medical News Today, about 90% of sore throats are caused by viral infections like colds and the flu. Both of these illnesses can also cause congestion and postnasal drip, which can further irritate a sore throat at night. Symptoms that commonly accompany a cold or the flu include sneezing, coughing, chest discomfort, body aches, weakness, and fatigue.

If you feel a viral infection coming on, it's important to act on your symptoms early to get the quickest recovery. Be sure to get plenty of sleep at night and nap during the day if you need to. "This will save energy and allow your immune system to fight off any viruses or bacteria," Deevya Narayanan, DO, told Byrdie. "It will also let your voice rest so you don't irritate it."

Drink plenty of liquids during the day including water, herbal tea, and broth to soothe your throat. Throat lozenges can also create more moisture in your mouth and throat. Most viral infections should go away on their own, but you should see a doctor if you're not finding relief from your sore throat after a few days.