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Why Do I Snore When I Have A Sore Throat?

It’s been a long, busy day, and the scratchy, raw throat you’ve developed doesn’t help. A good night’s sleep will help, right? It might, but there’s also a chance that your sore throat will lead to disruptive snoring.

I know that when you don’t feel well, what you want more than anything is to get a good night’s sleep. Snoring can get in the way of that goal. Fortunately, when your throat gets better, your snoring may pass away, too. But if a sore throat lingers, it may not be an illness to blame. Sometimes, snoring causes a sore throat.

The Mechanics of Snoring

Whether it’s a low rumble or a noise like a freight train, snoring is caused by an obstructed airway during sleep. When you fall asleep, the muscles in your throat and mouth relax, narrowing your airway. Your uvula vibrates against your throat – an easy reach since your muscles are relaxed. The video below by Rene Moller gives a good breakdown of just how snoring happens.

Some people, because of their physique, their weight, or other factors, snore on a regular basis. For others, though, snoring is something that only happens when they’re under the weather.

Sniffles and Snores

When you have a sore throat, there’s a good chance that you’ll find yourself snoring more often than usual. An irritated throat provides just the right set of circumstances for those annoying nighttime sounds to plague your sleep.

Some sore throats are caused by inflamed tonsils. The tonsils’ job is to trap germs, but they themselves can become infected, a condition known as tonsillitis. It can be caused by a number of bacteria and viruses, including those that are responsible for strep throat and influenza. Inflamed tonsils are not only sore, but they’re also large and swollen. They take up more space in your respiratory system than usual, blocking proper airflow and creating just the right circumstances for an all-night snore-fest.

detailed-human-tonsillitisOther sore throats are just one symptom of common colds or other respiratory infections, as well as seasonal allergies. As we all know, these illnesses also plague us with stuffed up noses. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that nasal congestion is one of the top causes of short-term snoring. When your nose is taken over by an invasion of mucus, you can’t breathe through it, and your airway is most certainly restricted. All of your breathing is through your mouth, making it quite likely that your uvula will smack against your narrowed airway all night long.

Treating Sore Throats

If sore throats are making you snore, the most sensible fix is to heal your throat. Although you can’t necessarily hurry the course of the common cold or other viral illnesses, you can at least relieve your symptoms. And some other infections respond quite well to treatment.

When your throat hurts, there are steps you can take to help it heal. Mayo Clinic suggests the following steps:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Water is an excellent choice.
  • Rest your voice. Talk at a reasonable volume and don’t speak more than necessary.
  • Breathe moist air. Run a cool-mist humidifier. If you don’t have one, run the shower while you sit in a steamy bathroom.
  • Soothe your throat. Suck on hard candies, drink caffeine-free tea with honey or treat yourself to a cold ice pop.
  • Gargle. Swishing saltwater in your mouth, then spitting it out, can provide tremendous relief for your sore throat.

Some sore throats require more than rest and home remedies. Severe pain, fever, the sudden onset of symptoms or recurring throat infections are all signs that you should visit a doctor. Your health care provider may run a test to see if you have strep throat. If this or another bacterial infection is causing your illness, he or she will probably prescribe antibiotics.

Recurring tonsillitis often requires surgical correction. If the infections are causing serious sleep disturbances, it’s even more likely that your doctor will recommend surgery. Fortunately, these days, tonsillectomies are outpatient procedures. They take about a week to 10 days to recover from, but the better sleep you’ll achieve makes the recovery period entirely worth it.

When the Snores Come First

If your sore throat isn’t just a short-term thing, consider the possibility that you actually have a sore throat from snoring. Sure, it’s the opposite of everything I’ve told you so far, but if your sore throat lingers, it’s something that you have to consider. In fact, your health depends on it.

When your airway is severely blocked at night, you might not only snore. You might also stop breathing for short periods throughout the night. This condition is known as obstructive sleep apnea. For more information on obstructive sleep apnea, check out this video from Nucleus Medical Media.

Learn More: 10 Warning Signs You Might Have Sleep Apnea and What to Do About It

As you might expect, snoring and sleep apnea go hand-in-hand, but that’s not the only symptom. The American Sleep Association lists fatigue, headaches, and chest pain as some of the signs you might experience. Here’s the one you really want to take note of at the moment, though: waking up with a sore throat. Yes, it’s true: Serious snoring causes sore throat.

Serious snoring causes sore throatSleep apnea can be more than just a sore throat from snoring. It can cause other major health issues, such as hypertension and heart problems, liver complications and type 2 diabetes. It also leaves you tired and worn down and is disruptive to people who share a bedroom with you. If you suspect that you might be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, see a doctor, who can evaluate your symptoms and order tests to determine whether you need to be treated for the condition. If so, you’ll hopefully find that your morning sore throat from snoring is quickly a thing of the past.

What to Do

You can’t keep every germ away all of the time, and at some point or another, you’re going to catch a bug that leaves your throat red and raw. It might mean a few days of snoring, but it won’t last forever. Some sore throats and snoring aren’t just a short-term thing, however.

  • Ease the pain and your snoring with simple at-home remedies, like gargling and sucking on lozenges.
  • See a doctor if your sore throat is severe or occurs frequently.
  • Consider the possibility of obstructive sleep apnea if you are regularly waking up with sore throats. Your doctor can run tests and suggest treatment.
  • If it’s a temporary thing try using a snoring mouthpiece like tongue retaining device – it can stop you from snoring and help get a good night’s sleep for you and your partner.

What’s your number-one tip for easing the pain of a sore throat? Leave it–or any questions–in the comments below!

About the Author Robert J. Hudson

Chief editor here at Snore Nation and a proud father of two cool boys. I am a reformed snorer, a reformed smoker, a reformed overeater, a reformed city dweller and a reformed workaholic stress monster on the mission to share my insider tips to restore that quality sleep for you and your partner!

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