Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
Relieving a sore throat at night caused by a virus typically involves gargling, sipping a warm beverage, or taking anti-inflammatory and pain-killing medication. Additional remedies include using a vaporizer or humidifier, taking a decongestant, and avoiding firsthand and secondhand smoke. These home remedies usually provide temporary relief. If the sore throat is likely caused by heartburn, then appropriate medications targeting that condition should be considered.
A sore throat may have many possible causes, including a virus, allergies, or heartburn. Postnasal drip or excess mucus that accumulates in the back of the nose or in the throat can also irritate throat tissues. If postnasal drip is the culprit, elevating the head can reduce the pain.
One of the most common ways to treat a sore throat at night is to suck on a nonprescription throat lozenge. A throat lozenge contains a local anesthetic that numbs the throat and thus soothes pain temporarily. A regular cough drop may also reduce throat pain. Cough drops and lozenges can be choking hazards if given to young children.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen are usually effective at alleviating throat irritation. NSAIDs can be alternated with other pain-reducing medications like acetaminophen and aspirin. Decongestants shrink swollen mucous membranes in the nose, relieving postnasal drip. Such medications are available over the counter and should be taken as directed.
A popular home remedy for a night time sore throat involves gargling with warm salt water. The most common ratio is 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of salt to 8 ounces (237 ml) of warm water. Instead of salt, a half teaspoon (2.5 ml) of cayenne pepper can be used. The solution should be gargled for approximately 30 seconds and spit out. This remedy can be especially effective if the cause of the condition is postnasal drip.
Sipping a warm beverage like tea with a little honey can temporarily soothe a sore throat. Broth, soup, or warm water can be equally effective. Cold foods like ice cream and ice pops are additional options for alleviating sore throat pain.
Dry air can make throat irritation worse. A humidifier or vaporizer helps combat this problem. If such appliances are not readily available, sitting in a steamy bathroom is a possible substitute. Additionally, leaving a shallow pan of water in a safe location will help moisturize the air.
There are several herbal remedies commonly used to treat a sore throat at night. Slippery elm, sage, and licorice root are all alternative treatments. Silkworm enzyme and andrographis are other options. These products are usually available as sprays, lozenges, and teas. A doctor should be consulted before taking any herbal remedy because they can interfere with conventional medications and may not be safe for expectant mothers, children, and individuals with certain health conditions.
Staying hydrated can help thin secretions that irritate the throat. Avoiding smoking and secondhand smoke will remove another possible throat irritant from the immediate environment. Getting sufficient sleep and resting the voice as much as possible is a strategy that complements any other remedy no matter the cause of the condition.
My personal remedy is honey and lemon. I guess it coats the throat. It works, though. I warm it a little to make it a little thinner, and mix in the lemon juice. For this, the lemon juice in the bottle works just fine. You don't need fresh lemon juice.
A throat lozenge before bed also works pretty well, too. But if it's late and you need some relief and don't feel like hitting some 24-hour place, the honey and lemon juice works really well.
My grandmother always swore by gargling with warm salty water. It was one of her sovereign specifics for a sore throat -- especially right before bedtime.
I've found a hot toddy or hot buttered rum is also good for relieving a sore throat, as well as helping a bad cough. Once in a while, the old remedies are still the best ones.