What Causes Dry Mouth While Sleeping?

Dry mouth is very common and typically at its worst when trying to sleep; in fact, it’s experienced by about 22% of the population.

While medically known as xerostomia, dry mouth is a condition that is self-defined by the individual based on how dry they personally feel their mouth is.

The Symptoms of Dry Mouth While Sleeping

The main symptom of dry mouth is, of course, dryness of the mouth. However, there are more tell-tale signs that you might notice. These could include:

  • A sore throat and/or tongue in the morning
  • Chapped lips
  • A build-up of saliva
  • Bad breath
  • Being unable to catch your breath in your sleep
  • Difficulty speaking, chewing or swallowing

Chronic dry mouth can lead to more severe symptoms in extreme circumstances, most of which can be seen on and around the teeth. This could be anything from a build-up of plaque and sensitive teeth to tooth decay, tooth demineralisation, or eroded enamel.

What Causes Extremely Dry Mouth While Sleeping?

The main cause of dry mouth while sleeping is a lack of saliva, which therefore means a lack of moisture in the mouth. This has two main causes: dehydration and breathing through the mouth.

Dehydration often comes hand in hand with other side effects of health issues, such as diarrhoea or excessive sweating. If this is the case, you’re expelling more liquid than you’re consuming, so are likely to become dehydrated. 

Mouth breathing, on the other hand, could be caused by several things. It could be that you have a blocked nasal passage, sleep apnoea, or are simply wearing a dental retainer.

Dry mouth is also a common side effect of other medications, including antihistamines, antidepressants, and asthma medications, and is even a common symptom of smoking, and simply ageing. Essentially, dry mouth while sleeping has lots of different causes, so it’s no wonder that it’s such a common experience. If your struggles with dry mouth have only started recently, it could be to do with the summer heat. If that’s the case, have a look at our blog on how to sleep in a heatwave.

How to Prevent Dry Mouth While Sleeping

There are several ways of treating dry mouth in the short term, including the following home remedies for dry mouth at night. 

If symptoms persist, however, and your dry mouth begins to affect your quality of life, you should consider speaking to your GP.

Use a Humidifier

If the air in your bedroom is too dry, you won’t be breathing in any moisture as you sleep. Using a humidifier at night will keep the air from being too dry, therefore keeping nasal passages hydrated and encouraging you away from breathing through your mouth as you sleep.

Avoid Stimulants Before Bed

Caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco can all contribute to dry mouth. Caffeine and tobacco have both been shown to decrease saliva production, whereas alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it increases urination and causes dehydration.

Avoiding these three things, particularly before bed, should reduce your dry mouth symptoms. If you can, avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol in your evening routine.

Improve Hydration

Since one of the main causes of dry mouth while sleeping is dehydration, drinking more water throughout the day can put your body in a better position for falling asleep. Consider going to bed with a glass of water in case you do wake up with a dry mouth during the night.

Chew Sugarless Gum

Chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva, thereby moistening the mouth. Gum also has the added benefit of improving your breath, if this is another symptom that you’re experiencing.

Review Your Medications

Read through the side effect lists on any medications you’ve been taking recently or regularly. You should never stop taking any medication without your doctor’s approval, but if you think your dry mouth could be connected to medication and is affecting your quality of life, contact your GP.

Get Better Sleep with Mattressman

For the perfect place to store your glass of water, medications, and any other bedtime essentials, Mattressman has your back with our convenient bedside tables.

Get a better night of sleep with one of our mattresses, and simply get in touch with one of our team with any enquiries.