Do you wake up in the middle of the night with tightness or discomfort in your throat? This can be a scary experience, especially if you don’t understand why it’s happening. Many people experience this symptom without any other health issues, but the cause might be something more serious.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the common causes for a closing sensation in the throat at night. We’ll also discuss how to identify potential triggers and how you can take steps to reduce your risk of experiencing further issues. Finally, we’ll talk about when to seek medical assistance for your symptoms and what your treatment options may be.
Causes of Throat Closing Up at Night
Laryngospasm is a condition that can cause a person’s throat to close up at night. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including allergies, infections, or even certain predisposing medical conditions. While this symptom can be alarming, it is important to understand the possible causes so that you can take steps to manage the issue.
Let’s take a closer look at what could be causing your throat to close up at night:
Allergies are one of the most common causes of a feeling of throat tightness, especially at night. This can arise from exposure to allergens such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites and mold. Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) can lead to slight swelling in the trachea (wind pipe) and larynx (voice box), which makes it difficult for air to pass through.
Other symptoms may include:
- Clogged or runny noses
- Postnasal drip
- A feeling of being congested in the chest
Treating allergies with antihistamines or decongestants often improves throat tightness and other allergic reactions located in the upper respiratory tract. Nasal sprays containing corticosteroids can also reduce inflammation caused by allergies. For more severe cases, allergy shots or immunotherapy may be necessary to deal with specific allergens that trigger an allergic reaction leading to throat tightness at night.
Asthma is the most common cause of throat closing up at night. Asthma occurs when the lining of your airways become inflamed and swollen, making them narrower and causing difficulty in breathing. The narrowing is called bronchoconstriction, or bronchospasm. During an asthma attack, this bronchoconstriction can result in wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest as well as throat closing up on its own.
Other triggers may include exposure to allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, pollens, molds or smoke; emotional stress; strenuous exercise; cold air; and various substances and medications. People with asthma who suffer from throat closing up at night are often referred to as having “nocturnal asthma” since their symptoms occur primarily at night time when they are asleep.
Treatment for nocturnal asthma includes:
- Avoiding known triggers such as tobacco smoke or other irritants.
- Using a controller medication for regular maintenance (often inhaled corticosteroids).
- Using quick-relief medications (bronchodilators) for symptom relief during an attack.
- Avoiding overexertion before bedtime.
Acid reflux is a very common cause of an uncomfortable sensation in your throat at night. When you experience acid reflux, the sphincter at the base of the esophagus can be compromised or weakened, causing stomach contents such as stomach acid and bile to flow back up in to your throat. This, known as gastroesophageal reflux (GER), is what causes that burning sensation, often referred to as heartburn. Other symptoms that may occur include dry cough at night, hoarseness or sore throat in morning, swallowing difficulties and a bitter taste in your mouth.
Certain lifestyle habits can contribute to an increase of GERD symptoms, including:
- Eating certain foods before bedtime (like spicy foods and citrus fruits)
- Wearing tight clothing around the waist line which puts pressure on the stomach area and prevents proper digestion of food.
- Smoking which weakens the sphincter muscle and should be avoided when trying to reduce GERD symptoms.
Treatment may include over-the-counter medications such as antacids or proton pump inhibitors (PPI) like Prilosec but it is important to talk with your doctor about what will work best for you personally. Making lifestyle changes such as avoiding lying down within 2 hours after meals can also help ease GERD symptoms by keeping food from harshly coming back up into your throat where it doesn’t belong. Additionally, sleeping upright helps keep food from flowing up instead of down so keep those pillows propped up!
Sleep Apnea is a condition whereby the individual experiences pauses in their breathing throughout the night, which temporarily block the windpipe and cause feelings of choking or difficulty in breathing. Sleep apnea may cause snoring and lead to daytime sleepiness. It is important to determine if sleep apnea may be causing your throat closing up at night, as this condition can have long-term health consequences if left untreated.
Some of the more common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Choking or gasping during sleep
- Constant feeling of tiredness during the day
- Headaches upon waking
- Difficulties concentrating or focusing on tasks
People who suffer from sleep apnea usually experience pauses in their breathing that range from several seconds up to a minute. During each episode of apnea, oxygen levels can drop significantly, leading to increased risk for heart attack and stroke over time.
If you feel that your throat is closing up at night on a regular basis and you exhibit one or more of the signs mentioned above then it is important to seek help from your doctor who can perform tests to diagnose whether sleep apnea is causing your symptoms. If you are diagnosed with this condition then it will require treatment but with outpatient options available, this can allow you to still have control over your lifestyle while managing your disorder effectively.
Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can be a major trigger for many people who experience dysphagia or difficulty swallowing due to the tightening of throat muscles. As the body experiences increased levels of stress or anxiety, it can cause the throat muscles to spasm and tighten, making it difficult to swallow or breathe. This can often worsen at night when an individual is trying to relax and get ready for bed, causing further physical tension in the body that further exacerbates the problem.
Other possible factors that may contribute to a feeling of dysphagia or difficulty swallowing include:
- Acid reflux
- Colds and flus
- Airway blockages due to nasal congestion from allergies or sinusitis
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Extreme fatigue
- Certain medications
When your throat begins to close up at night, it can be a very distressing experience. The most common symptom of this problem is difficulty breathing or feeling like your throat is closing up. Other symptoms might include:
- Chest tightness
- Difficulty swallowing
Let’s take a look at the symptoms of throat closure at night in more detail.
It is important to be aware of any difficulty breathing that occurs, particularly at night when you’re trying to sleep. Shortness of breath and a feeling of tightness in the chest or throat are the common primary symptoms associated with the condition. There is often a feeling of air hunger or suffocation while attempting to take in a normal breath, and these feelings may be accompanied by wheezing, coughing, or an inability to take a deep breath.
Difficulty breathing may worsen if you are lying flat on your back; this sensation usually can be relieved by sitting up or sleeping propped up in an elevated position. If you experience any signs of difficulty breathing, it is important to seek medical attention promptly for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Wheezing is a common symptom of throat closing up at night. It is described as a high-pitched whistling sound that is heard when you breathe in and out. Wheezing happens when the tissues around your airways become swollen due to inflammation. This can be caused by several factors, such as overheating and allergies, or from triggered episodes of bronchospasm caused by asthma or exercise-induced asthma. Wheezing can also occur from irritation from dust mites, pet dander and other allergens in your home.
Symptoms associated with wheezing include:
- Chest tightness
- Difficulty breathing
- Feeling short of breath
Additionally, it is possible for wheezy breathing to cause pain in the chest area as well as difficulty speaking or catching your breath while speaking.
If you experience any type of wheezing associated with throat closing up at night, it is important to seek medical attention right away as this could be a sign of a serious medical condition such as pneumonia or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Additionally, if the wheezing persists for more than two weeks you should consult a doctor because the airway may have become permanently narrowed and require treatment with medication or other therapy such injection into the affected area with corticosteroid medication or laser surgery.
Coughing is a common symptom of many illnesses and conditions and is characterized by an involuntary expulsion of air from the lungs. A dry cough, which does not produce sputum or phlegm, is usually due to viral infections, allergies, or irritation from inhaled substances such as smoke or chemicals. It can also be a sign of more serious conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, sinusitis, and cystic fibrosis.
A wet cough, which produces mucus or phlegm as part of the coughing process often accompanies bacterial infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis. If sputum has streaks of blood in it or produces red-tinted saliva this may indicate a lung infection.
Hoarseness in the voice may accompany coughing when both stems from conditions caused by colds or allergies such as post-nasal drip. It can also be a sign of laryngitis if it persists for more than a few days or if there are other symptoms associated with it including swelling in the neck and difficulty breathing. Severe hoarseness should always be discussed with a doctor who may suggest tests to determine the cause of the hoarseness and provide appropriate treatments if necessary.
Persistent coughing could also be an indication of
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder) including emphysema and chronic bronchitis
- heart failure
- lung cancer
- other medical conditions
so should be further investigated by your doctor even if other symptoms aren’t present.
Tightness in the Chest
People who experience a tightness in the chest when their throat closes up at night may also feel what is known as dysphagia. Dysphagia is the extreme difficulty or sensation of something getting stuck when you try to swallow. This feeling can be accompanied by a tightening sensation around the neck or chest of an individual. At times, it may feel like something is choking them, even though nothing is there.
Other possible symptoms include:
- Difficulty beginning to swallow
- Feeling as if food or liquids are stuck in the throat after swallowing
- Gagging or coughing on your own saliva, which normally shouldn’t happen
If any of these symptoms occur, you should discuss them with your doctor to determine if further treatment is necessary for this condition.
If you suffer from a throat that feels like it’s closing up at night, you may be wondering what types of treatment options are available. The good news is that there are a variety of treatments that can be used to help alleviate the symptoms and make you feel more comfortable. Let’s discuss some of the treatment options that may be recommended:
- Over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines and decongestants.
- Prescription medications such as corticosteroids and immunomodulators.
- Allergy shots or immunotherapy.
- Nasal irrigation.
One of the treatments for throat closing up at night is to reduce your exposure to allergens. If you are unable to identify the allergens that are causing your symptoms, a doctor may recommend an allergy test. Once determined, medications such as antihistamines and nasal steroids can be used to treat your allergies and help reduce throat closing up at night.
Antihistamines work by blocking the release of histamine, which is a chemical produced by immune cells in reaction to allergens. These medications can help with sneezing, itching, runny nose and nasal congestion associated with allergies. Common types of antihistamines include loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec) and fexofenadine (Allegra).
Nasal corticosteroids are another type of medication that can be used to treat allergies. These steroids mimic hormones that occur naturally in your body, reducing inflammation in the airways and helping stop throat-closing reactions at night. Common forms of these medications include mometasone (Nasonex), fluticasone (Flonase) and budesonide (Rhinocort). Your doctor may also recommend two sprays – one an antihistamine spray such as Azelastine (Astelin or Astepro) and another a longer term steroid spray such as Fluticasone Propionate (Flonase).
Antihistamines are a common treatment option for individuals experiencing throat closure brought on by an allergic reaction, or allergies. Antihistamines work by blocking the histamine receptor in the body, preventing your body from reacting to allergens in the same way. These medications can come over-the-counter or as a prescription, depending on your doctor’s diagnosis.
- OTC antihistamines include: cetrizine (Zyrtec), loratadine (Clarinex), fexofenadine (Allegra), and diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
- Taking a low dose of one of these OTC antihistamines before bedtime might help prevent throat closure caused by an allergic reaction overnight.
- When allergy symptoms are more severe than mild, and OTC antihistamine medications aren’t enough, your doctor may prescribe you a stronger form of an antihistamine that is only available with a prescription. Prescription antihistamines include: desloratidine (Clarinex), levocetirizine (Xyzal), and monteleukast sodium (Singulair).
- These medications help control and prevent the throat closure caused by allergies.
- Additionally, if you find yourself with prolonged or chronic throat irritation due to allergies, immunotherapy may also be recommended as part of your treatment plan.
Asthma inhalers are a common primary treatment for people experiencing symptoms of nighttime throat closing up, as this can be a sign of an underlying asthma attack. Inhalers help open the airways and allow a person to breathe more easily.
Asthma inhalers come in three main types:
- Short-acting rescue inhalers for immediate relief when symptoms become acute.
- Longer-acting reliever inhalers, which provide maintenance therapy.
- Preventative inhalers, which are taken regularly to control symptoms over time.
There are many different brands and types of inhaler available. It is important to discuss the most suitable one with your doctor or respiratory specialist so you can ensure you get the right type. Different medicines might be necessary depending on each individual’s needs and medical history. These should be discussed with your healthcare team in order to determine the best course of action for managing asthmatic symptoms during nighttime hours.
If you experience recurrent throat closure that occurs in conjunction with heartburn or acid reflux, your physician may prescribe medication to alleviate your symptoms. Common medications for GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) include antacids, H2-receptor antagonists, and proton pump inhibitors.
- Antacids: These are typically taken as an over-the-counter liquid syrup or in tablet form and work by neutralizing stomach acid. Examples of these include Gaviscon® and Maalox®.
- H2-receptor antagonists: These medications are available over-the-counter or by prescription, and reduce the production of stomach acid by blocking H2 receptors in the stomach lining. Examples of these include cimetidine (Tagamet®), famotidine (Pepcid AC®), nizatidine (Axid®) and ranitidine (Zantac®).
- Proton pump inhibitors: These medications are available only through prescription, and act on the cells that produce stomach acid to drastically reduce the amount produced. Examples of these include omeprazole (Prilosec OTC®, Nexium®, Protonix®, Aciphex®, Zegerid OTC®) and lansoprazole (Prevacid®, Prevacid 24HR®).
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are a common treatment for those suffering from airway-related disorders, such as sleep apnea. CPAP machines work by keeping your airways open so that you can receive an unrestricted flow of air. This can be beneficial when your throat is closing up at night either because of sleep apnea or some other breathing-related issue.
The procedure itself is fairly simple: a mask is placed over your nose and mouth and connected to a small machine with a motor. The motor forces air through the mask, creating positive pressure in the throat and preventing it from collapsing during sleep. There are various types of masks available, each providing different levels of pressure to suit various conditions.
Regular use of a CPAP machine can reduce the symptoms associated with sleep apnea, such as snoring and fatigue during the day. It can also make people feel more alert and energetic because their body is getting enough oxygen throughout the night. In addition to treating sleep apnea symptoms, CPAP machines have been shown to be beneficial for those with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other respiratory issues that cause narrowing of the airways at night.
However, CPAP machines can be expensive and require regular follow-up visits with a qualified doctor or therapist to adjust settings based on changes in your condition over time. Regular maintenance is also required to ensure that it remains effective and safe to use over time; so while it may initially be expensive up front, over time it could save money in healthcare costs if used regularly as prescribed by your doctor or therapist.
If you often find yourself with a sore throat or struggling to breathe at night, you’re not alone. Throat closing up at night can be a difficult problem to deal with. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to prevent this from happening.
In this article, we will discuss the various prevention tips you can use to reduce the occurrence of this problem:
Allergens, such as pollen and dust can trigger tightness in the throat. To reduce exposure and reduce your chance of a reaction, follow the steps below:
- Avoid outdoor activities during peak allergen season.
- Keep windows and doors closed during peak season.
- On dry days, close the windows entirely and switch on the air conditioner instead to filter the air.
- Vacuum your house at least twice a week with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner to trap allergens like pet dander.
- Wash sheets and covers weekly in hot water.
- Install an air purifier in areas you spend significant time in (e.g., bedroom).
A number of environmental and lifestyle factors can contribute to increased incidence of throat closing up at night, so it’s important to be aware of possible triggers. Some things to consider include:
- Allergens: Talk with your doctor about allergies, especially if your throat closing up at night is related to seasonal changes. Identifying and avoiding allergens such as pollen, pet dander, mold, or dust mites that can worsen symptoms is an important part of managing the condition.
- Exercise: Consider scheduling exercise at times when allergies are less likely to be a factor like indoors later in the day or early in the morning.
- Humidity and Temperature: Although some people find that warm, humid conditions make their throat closing up at night worse, others find relief by changing their environment. Keeping rooms well ventilated will help you maintain the ideal temperature for symptom improvement.
- Caffeine Intake: Limiting caffeine intake both during the day and shortly before bedtime may reduce incidence of throat closing up at night. Make sure to drink plenty of water too for overall hydration levels throughout the day and evening.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for supporting overall throat health. Excess weight can put unnecessary pressure on your throat and airways, making it difficult to breathe when trying to sleep. Furthermore, carrying extra weight can increase your risk of having allergies or underlying conditions that could cause constrictions in your throat at night.
Make sure to practice healthy eating habits and engage in physical activity regularly. Additionally, if you suffer from allergies or asthma, strive to keep these under control as much as possible with medications prescribed by your physician and identifying possible triggers that may be in your environment.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Maintaining a healthy diet is an important way of preventing throat issues at night that can also lead to other allergy-related health complications. Eating mostly fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins helps keep the body strong and resilient against environmental irritants that often trigger throat problems. If you have a specific food sensitivity or intolerance, such as dairy or gluten, avoiding those foods or taking a supplement may make it easier to prevent throat issues at night.
Additionally, avoiding sugary snacks and drinks can help the immune system to remain in balance. Additionally, drinking plenty of water throughout the day keeps nasal passages lubricated and free from allergens that may cause an episode of throat tightness overnight. Making sure to get adequate restful sleep will also decrease your risk for experiencing an episode of throat closure at night. Eating a healthy diet filled with essential vitamins and minerals not only boosts overall health but can also reduce your risk for experiencing late-night throat tightening episodes.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, yoga, stretching and meditation, can help prevent throat muscles from involuntarily slowing down and closing up at night. Deep breathing is particularly effective in providing temporary relief of lower airway symptoms. It can also help reduce pain and ease muscular tension.
Yoga is a form of exercise that combines physical body movements with deep breathing to relax the mind and body. In addition, gentle stretching of the neck area can help release tension in the throat muscles that may be contributing to airway spasms.
Finally, meditation can focus on calming bodily sensations by connecting physical deep breaths and conscious breaths – helping overly tight or restricted breath slow down and become more regulated.
All of these relaxation practices have been shown to improve or reduce symptoms related to nighttime constriction or closing up of the throat.