Dry Throat at Night: Causes, Scratchy, Difficult Swallowing, Cure, Home Remedies

Dry throat is described as a rough, scratchy, sometimes itchy feeling in the throat. The most common cause of dry throat at night is drying out of the mucus membranes, often as a result of exercise, sleeping with your mouth open, breathing through your mouth, living in a dry environment, or simply not drinking enough fluids.

Dry Throat at Night Causes

Dry throat can as well be caused by tobacco or marijuana use, voice strain, vomiting, excessive coughing, throat inflammation, allergies, and, in rare cases, cancers of the throat and esophagus.
You have to look for prompt medical care if you have white patches on your tonsils, a persistent or mucus-producing cough, white patches and redness on your tongue or in your mouth that will not go away, fever, or if you have a feeling of something stuck in the throat that will not go away.
Dry throat at night may accompany other symptoms affecting the respiratory system including:

  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hoarse voice
  • Pus or white patches covering the tonsils or throat
  • Sore throat

Digestive system symptoms that occur along with dry throat

Dry throat may accompany symptoms related to the digestive system including:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Heartburn
  • Vomiting

Other symptoms that may occur along with dry throat
Dry throat may accompany symptoms related to other body systems such as the immune system or circulatory system including: Body aches, Blurred or double vision, Difficulty swallowing, Enlarged lymph nodes or structures in the throat, Fatigue, Fever and chills, Low blood pressure or hypotension, and Muscle weakness
In some cases, dry throat at night may occur with other symptoms that might indicate a serious condition that should be immediately evaluated by a healthcare provider. Have a cause for alarm if you, or someone you are with, have dry throat along with other serious symptoms including:

  • Fever
  • Pus or white patches covering the tonsils or throat

Dry Throat at Night Causes

Anyone can suffer from the complaint of dry throat that can be induced by weather changes or wind, but chronic dry throat is usually as a result of presence of a disease. Other symptoms that may accompany dry throat include cough, pain in the whole body, nasal drainage, loose stools, nausea, and vomiting and fever. Many home remedies are proved effective to treat dry throat or even over the counter treatments.
A temporary condition such as breathing dry air, dehydration or mouth breathing due to a stuffy nose is often to blame for occasional throat dryness. A persistently dry throat, however, may indicate a case that is more serious. A variety of conditions and situations can cause a dry throat, some more serious than others. Although it may seem like a relatively minor problem, it’s important to see your doctor if you experience a dry throat frequently or persistently.
The causes for dry throat are as follows:
Air Quality
The lining of the nose and throat contain mucus-secreting cells that keep the tissue moist. If you’re breathing unusually dry air, however, lack of moisture could lead to a dry, irritated throat. This situation is common in arid areas. Heated indoor air in the wintertime can cause a similar effect. Exercising in dry air is particularly likely to cause throat dryness as you’re breathing rapidly, often through your mouth.
Smoking and vaping
the two as well can also dry the throat. Breathing hot smoke from a cigarette, cigar, pipe or another smoking device has a drying effect on the throat. Vaping does not involve heated smoke, but the chemicals in the vapor can also be drying to the throat. Other chemical fumes and pollutants might also leave you with a dry, irritated throat.
Mouth Breathing
Air is normally inhaled through the nose and passes through the throat before entering the lungs. This pathway enables warming, sifting and humidification of the air. Mouth breathing bypasses the nose, which can lead to cooler, drier air reaching the throat and lungs, potentially causing a dry throat at night, along with other unpleasant problems such as bad breath and tooth decay.
Mouth breathing is most often due to stuffy nose. Common culprits include; head cold, sinusitis, nasal allergies, and growths in the nose, such as nasal polyps, deviated or thick nasal septum, and enlarged tonsils.
A dry mouth and throat are predictable symptoms of even mild dehydration, which is defined as a 1 to 5 percent deficit in body water. You might notice difficulty swallowing due to this dryness, along with throat irritation. A mild dehydration is very common especially among young children and seniors during the hot summer months. Drinking too much alcohol can also lead to next-day dehydration and throat dryness.
Medical Treatment Side Effects
Medication side effects represent another commonly overlooked cause of dry throat at night. Radiation treatment for head and neck cancer also frequently causes chronic dryness of the mouth or throat. More than 400 drugs are known to potentially cause a dry mouth and throat.
Food/ Drink Intake
Everything you ingest has to travel through the throat. Hence, while looking at the causes of dry throat, it is important to examine what a person is eating or drinking. Dry throat is often associated with the consumption of diuretic substances such as caffeine and alcohol. These substances cause the body to lose increased amounts of water by increasing urination hence dry throat.
Irritation is also a very common cause of dry throat. Exposure to dry air can irritate the mucous membrane of the throat and causes loss of water. Irritation can also be caused by exposure to tobacco smoke, dust and other types of air pollutants. Those who develop dry throat due to irritation, the problem are worse in the morning.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Dry throat may also indicate the presence of an underlying illness such as obstructive sleep apnea, which is a type of sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing due to physical obstruction in the airways and also symptoms of snoring and fatigue.
Tonsils Problems
Problems in tonsils such as infections, tumors, abscesses or cancer may create swelling of the tonsils preventing the passage of saliva to the throat, hence leading to dryness in throat.
More Serious Medical Conditions
Dry throat may also occur due to various other illnesses such as allergies, hay fever, and laryngitis. A person suffering from hay fever or allergies also notices other symptoms of sneezing, runny nose and post nasal drip. Similarly, a person suffering from laryngitis has presence of dry cough, hoarseness and pain in throat apart from dry throat at night. Dry throat may also occur as a result of cancer of the salivary glands.
Some extra water or a humidifier is sometimes all you need to relieve a dry throat. However, there are potentially serious causes and consequences of persistent or frequent throat dryness. The best course of action is a visit to your doctor to get an accurate examination and appropriate treatment.
Seek immediate medical attention if you or a loved one may be suffering from severe dehydration. Signs and symptoms include dizziness, fainting, lack of sweating, confusion and a rapid heart rate.

Dry Scratchy Throat

Did you know that simple ingredients from the kitchen can help get relief from dry scratchy throat? Here are helpful remedies to treat the throat and various causes behind this symptom. Dry-scratchy throat in itself is a symptom; however, a person might experience other symptoms as well, such as, cough, extreme itching in the throat, throat pain, swollen tonsils, difficulty in swallowing, and hoarse voice
Why dry scratchy voice?
Strain: One common reason for sore throat is straining of the voice box. Talking loudly in a noisy bar or cheering during a sporting event for long can strain your throat. This mostly tends to result in scratchy, dry throat at night along with a hoarse voice.
Cold and Flu Infections: One of the common symptoms of viral infection like cold and flu is sore throat. Apart from this symptom other common symptoms, include nasal congestion, coughing, sneezing, fatigue, etc.
Post-nasal Drip: PND occurs when there is excessive mucus production. This mucus builds up at the back of the throat and nose. This is not a medical condition but rather a symptom pointing towards other conditions like sinusitis, GERD, or other infections.
Unhealthy Habits: Smoking is another common cause that can lead to dry, itchy throat. Also, eating hot and spicy food and eating cold food can result in this condition. Hence, making lifestyle changes can help to get rid of this condition.
Strep Throat: This is a bacterial infection. Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria are responsible for this infection. Apart from a sore throat, other signs and symptoms of this condition include dry throat at night, throat ache, fever, headache, difficulty to swallow, fatigue, etc.
GERD: Gastro esophageal reflux disease or GERD is a digestive system disorder. There is a backward flow of stomach acids and occasionally bile towards the food pipe. This causes irritation in the lining of the food pipe, which results in scratchy throat problem.
Habitual cough: mostly observed in children is dry cough that can irritate the throat. Also, dry air is a common culprit of dry-itchy throat.

Dry Throat at Night Difficult Swallowing

Throat dryness can be annoying, particularly if dryness makes swallowing uncomfortable. Identifying the cause of your dry throat will allow you to find an appropriate treatment to restore moisture and resolve underlying issues causing the problem.
Pharyngitis, commonly called sore throat, occurs when a viral or bacterial infection affects the throat. If you have a sore throat, your throat may hurt and feel dry. Pain may increase when you swallow or talk and you may find that it is difficult. Glands in your neck and jaw may feel sore and painful if you have a sore throat. You may notice pus or white patches on your tonsils, which may appear red.
Sjogren’s syndrome
Throat dryness can be a sign of Sjogren’s syndrome, a chronic disorder that affects the glands. Sjogren’s syndrome normally affects the glands that produce saliva and tears, although the bowel, lung and other organs can be affected. In addition to dry throat, you may also notice that your eyes feel dry or are red. Dryness in the mouth and throat can cause make swallowing chewing and speaking more difficult.
Lack of Humidity
Low humidity, a common problem during the winter months in cold climates, can contribute to throat dryness. Humidity in your home should range between 30 to 50 percent as researchers reveal. When humidity is too low, your skin and moist membranes become dry and itchy. Using a humidifier can help reduce the problem by increasing the moisture level in your home.
Dry Throat Cure
There are many home remedies that people use to treat that tickling feeling in the throat, such as drinking more fluids, humidifying the air or simply resting their throat. But addressing the underlying cause of the irritation may be the best solution to this problem.
Preventive Strategies

Dry or smoky air or other common irritants in the home or work environment can cause your throat to feel itchy or parched, and addressing or removing those irritants is often effective for symptom relief.
Smoke is a very common irritant, so it’s wise to stay away from smoky environments and to avoid smoking. Some people are bothered by pet dander, mold, pollen and dust mites, so keeping your house clean may help.
Finally, if your throat is dry and itchy due to long periods of talking or perhaps cheering during a football game, simple rest may be all your throat needs.
Cough Syrup: Cough syrups provide good relief from cough. There are many types of cough syrups available over-the-counter, you can select cough syrups which are sedative or non-sedative. There are also specific cough syrups available for children and adults. So, read the label properly on the bottle before buying the cough syrup. You can take 1-2 tablespoons of cough syrup, twice a day.
Antihistamines and Painkillers: This remedy is suitable only for adults, and is to be taken if you are suffering from allergies. Buy antihistamines OTC, and take 1 tablet twice in a day. You can also consider taking an OTC pain pill if the throat pain is unbearable.
Lozenges: You can buy some throat lozenges and suck on it for instant relief. There are different flavors of lozenges available. These can easily be carried in your pocket or purse.
Myrrh Gargle: Myrrh is antimicrobial, and soothes the mucus membranes. This remedy also helps to get rid of dry cough. Add ½ teaspoon of Myrrh to 2 cups of lukewarm water, and then gargle with this water and swallow it. Repeat this remedy 3-4 times in a day, till you get better.

When to See a Doctor

If you have an itchy, dry throat at night, there are several ways you can provide soothing relief at home. There are many potential causes of a dry, itchy throat, with most being an annoyance rather than a serious medical condition.
However, if your symptoms are frequent or longstanding, or if accompanied by fever, vomiting, difficulty swallowing or headache, it is probably time to see your doctor and try to figure out the root cause of your discomfort.

Dry Scratchy Throat Home Remedies

Gargling: Salt-water gargling is one of the most effective remedies, and is often suggested by doctors to cure a sore throat. To try this remedy, boil 2 glasses of water with 2 tablespoons of common table salt. Wait till the solution gets lukewarm, and use it for gargling and then spit out the solution. This remedy kills the bacteria in the throat and soothes the throat. You can use this remedy as many times in a day as you feel the need to, but use it at least twice a day.
Lemon-Honey Tea: To make lemon tea, boil 1 cup water for a minute, add 1 teaspoon of green tea to it, and cover it with a lid for a minute. Strain the tea in a cup; add juice of 1 lemon and a spoon of honey to it. Repeat this remedy at least twice a day. Honey will coat the throat and soothe it and reduce the scratchy sensation, and antioxidants in lemon and tea will give a boost to your immune system.
Chicken Soup: You can have clear chicken soup or flavor it with garlic, turmeric, and parsley. The steam from the soup will help clear the congestion and breathe better. Also, chicken soup broth has anti-inflammatory property, which helps soothe the dry and itchy throat.
Licorice: You can buy licorice root from an herbal store. Wash and clean the root. Boil a cup of water and infuse few pieces of the root for a minute. Drain the tea and slowly sip it. It will help to soothe the irritated throat.
Garlic: This scratchy sore throat remedy is not suitable for people who can’t digest hot food. To try this remedy, chew and swallow 2 cloves of garlic. If you find the taste of garlic too hot, take it with a teaspoon of honey. Garlic is antibacterial and will help to cure the throat infection.
The indoor humidity is often low during cool months due to use of heaters. This can lead to drying and irritation of the throat. Using a humidifier to add moisture to the air may relieve a dry throat, especially during sleep. Both cool and warm mist vaporizers soothe and moisturize a dry throat.
Try Herbal Tea
You can also try herbal tea to soothe your dry, scratchy throat as the ingredients present in herbal tea such as chamomile, sage; licorice root and eucalyptus have throat-soothing properties. Another pungent but soothing tea is prepared by simmering scallions and chives in hot water.
Have Hot Drinks
You can relieve dry, scratchy throat by drinking hot liquids such as a cup of green tea or chamomile tea. Both of these teas are excellent to soothe the dryness and irritation in your throat. If your dry throat is also accompanied by cough, addition of a small amount of honey and lemon juice in your tea gives excellent results.
Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Mixture
Gargling is the best way to soothe a dry, itchy throat. You can mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water and gargle it in your throat. This solution will help kill the bacteria that cause dryness in throat. To further boost the dryness relieving power of this mixture, add honey and sage to it.
 Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is also a good approach to tackle the problem of a dry throat at night. Water acts as a lubricant and moisturizes the dry air passages. You should drink at least 8 glasses of water every day. You can also suck hard candies and eat popsicles to soothe the irritation and moisten the throat.
Practice Breathing Techniques
Dry throat may frequently develop in persons who breathe through their mouth during sleep. Practicing proper breathing techniques after consulting a sleep expert is important in relieving the symptoms of dry throat in such individuals.
Avoid Caffeine and Irritation Source
To prevent dry throat at night you should avoid beverages that contain caffeine as it can cause dehydration and further aggravate the condition. Moreover, exposure to irritants such as cigarette smoke, pollutants and chemicals may be risky.
See your doctor if you have a fever, cough up blood or if you notice any lumps in neck. Other symptoms that should prompt a trip to your doctor include difficulty swallowing or breathing, whistling or wheezing when you breathe, or hoarseness lasting more than 2 weeks.
More references

  1. Dry throat: http://www.newhealthguide.org/Dry-Throat.html
  2. Causes of dry throat at night: http://www.livestrong.com/article/25383-causes-dry-throat/