Waking up with a dry throat isn't our idea of a pleasant morning routine, and the feeling of cotton balls stuck in your throat is downright uncomfortable. Before you diagnose yourself with any combination of conditions you've come across during a 2 a.m. search on the internet, we've got good news for you: a dry throat is not life-threatening. In fact, a dry throat can be caused by the air quality of your home, the temperature of your home, and how you sleep, according to Nate Favini, MD, MS, medical lead at Forward, a preventive primary care practice.
Is It Normal to Wake Up With a Dry Throat?
"Waking up with a dry throat is actually quite common, especially for people who sleep with their mouths open at night," Dr. Favini told POPSUGAR. Dryness of the throat becomes more common in the fall and winter as having the heat on at night can dry out the air in your room, he explained.
"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." And if you tend to sleep with your mouth open at night, you're more susceptible to having a dry throat as you're breathing out more water vapor and inhaling more dry air.
A dry throat may be irritating, but it shouldn't be concerning. But if you're also experiencing symptoms of a sore throat, fever, or trouble breathing, Dr. Favini recommends contacting your doctor. "That can be a more concerning sign, particularly given the spread of COVID-19," he explained.
How to Prevent a Dry Throat at Night and When You Wake Up
If waking up feeling like a tumbleweed is stuck in your throat is less than ideal, Dr. Favini said sleeping with a humidifier is a "great way to reduce throat dryness that occurs while you're sleeping." Additionally, drinking a warm cup of tea with honey or sucking on a throat lozenge before bed can coat your throat, preventing dryness.
Give these simple tips a shot to reduce any dryness you've been experiencing, and if they don't work, consult your doctor, who can provide you with a more individualized treatment plan.