Snoring is an old-age problem that occurs when the mouth, tongue, throat, or nasal structures vibrate during sleep. These tissues, as well as the ones in the mouth, can sometimes relax and narrow during sleep and consequently fall back in the airway, partially obstructing it and causing the rattling sound we call snoring.
The connection between snoring and sore throat
So, can snoring really cause a sore throat? Yes, snoring can irritate the throat and nose, causing throat pain during sleep.
In most cases, bacterial and viral infections are the common culprits behind sore throat, but snoring has been found to cause sore throat. Snoring is mainly associated with mouth breathing which can cause dryness in the mouth and throat and subsequently lead to irritation and inflammation of the throat lining to trigger a sore throat. If your throat is already sore from other factors, snoring may further aggravate it.
Waking up with a scratchy throat is bound to put a damper on your day. You will want to get the problem resolved as soon as possible.
About 40% of adult men and 24% of adult women are habitual snorers. If you fall in this category and suffer from a sore throat in the morning, you may just have identified the cause of your sore throat.
A sore throat medically referred to as pharyngitis, is caused by inflammation of the pharynx, the fibromuscular tube at the back of your throat.
Up to 11 million people are diagnosed with pharyngitis every year in the United States alone.
A sore throat can cause mild discomfort or burning pain and make swallowing an odious task.
So, just what is the connection between snoring and sore throat? First off, let’s delve into what happens when you get a sore throat.
When you are experiencing a sore throat, the back of your throat is inflamed and turns red. The tonsils may become swollen and, in some cases, secrete pus. This can make swallowing and talking painful.
Anything that causes inflammation of the mucous lining can often cause sore throat, with the most common cause being viral, bacterial, or fungal infections.
Drugs and cigarettes can also cause chemical irritation, which can inflame the throat.
Physical irritation from air conditioning or shouting can also cause a sore throat.
How can snoring inflame the back of your throat?
As we mentioned earlier, snoring comes from the back of the throat and nose. It occurs when air flowing through your mouth and nose is obstructed, causing the throat tissues to vibrate as you breathe.
Snoring is one of the physical irritants of a sore throat. Snoring can further irritate a minor sore throat from other issues, leading to a more prolonged and more arduous recovery.
What’s more, OSA-associated snoring puts you at a higher risk for inflammation in your airway. The respiratory tracks tend to be stressed out in obstructive sleep apnea, which often prompts mouth breathing during sleep.
Sleep apnea also causes upper airway inflammation which makes you more susceptible to sore throats.
In a nutshell, if you snore during sleep, this is likely the cause of your sore throat.
How to remedy sore throat caused by snoring
If you think that snoring is the culprit to your sore throat, don’t fret. You can remedy sore throat caused by snoring by;
- Taking over the counter pain medication such as ibuprofen to end the pain,
- Taking throat lozenges to soothe the throat and eliminate the dryness,
- Taking an over the counter nasal decongestant to clear your nose and make it possible for you to breath using your nose instead of your mouth and prevent dryness that results from mouth breathing,
- Using a humidifier during sleep can help reduce congestion and keep the throat lubricated.
- Gargling salt water to kill the bacteria in the throat and loosen the mucus.
- Honey mixed with lemon is packed with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to help soothe a sore throat effectively.
You can also remedy snoring-triggered sore throat by fixing the root of the problem – the snoring itself.
- Get sufficient sleep: Observe sleep hygiene, i.e., what you do during the day, evening, and night that sets the stage for quality sleep, including bedtime habits, bedroom sleep environment, etc.
- Change your sleep position: Sleeping on your back can lead to the tongue collapsing in the mouth, which can block your airway and cause snoring.
- Elevate your head: Elevating your head during sleep may help improve sleep apnea symptoms, including snoring.
- Weight loss: Excess weight is among the top causes of snoring and sleep apnea. Try shedding the excess weight to stop snoring, especially if it started after you gained weight.
- Avoid strong medication: Some medications, such as muscle relaxants and sedatives, may cause relaxation in the throat and airway, worsening snoring.
- Avoid alcohol intake in the evening: Alcohol tends to relax muscles in the throat which can increase your risk of snoring.
- Use allergy medication: Colds and allergies can lead to a stuffy nose resulting from a cold, or allergy can obstruct airflow and cause snoring.
- Use anti-snoring pillows: Anti-snoring pillows are designed to prevent snoring by realigning your head and neck to widen your throat airways. These work best if you are only a mild snorer.
- Anti snoring oral appliances: At night, wearing these oral appliances can stop the tongue from relaxing and falling backward in the mouth and keep the airway open.
- CPAP: Chronic snoring is often a symptom of OSA. Using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), a sleep apnea treatment can help end snoring.
- Surgery: If all other snoring treatments prove futile, your last resort may be surgery to tighten and trim the tissues in the airway.
Mainly snoring occurs when we breathe through the mouth, which leads to dryness and irritation in the mouth and throat. This dryness and irritation can cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up. Sore throat caused by snoring is uncomfortable and can make it hard for you to swallow anything. I hope this article equips you with everything you need to know about snoring-related sore throat and how to get relief from it.