Why Do I Drool When I Sleep?

Did you know your body makes up to 1.5 liters of saliva every day? It’s no surprise that some of it might end up on your pillow during the night.

Drooling is nothing to be embarrassed about, and understanding why you might be drooling will help you maintain good health. Check out our list of common reasons for nighttime drooling:

Sleep position

Just like the rest of your body, your mouth and swallowing muscles relax when you’re in a deep sleep. You might swallow less often, causing saliva to pool in your mouth. If you sleep on your stomach or side, saliva has an easy path out of your mouth.

Hypersalivation

When your salivary glands produce excess saliva, you experience hypersalivation. It has various causes:

  • Allergies: You’re used to itchy eyes and runny nose that come with seasonal allergies, but allergies can also cause your mouth to make too much saliva.

  • Heartburn: Acid from your stomach pushes back up into your esophagus, so you produce more saliva to wash the irritant down.

  • Sleep apnea: This sleep disorder causes interruptions in your breathing while you sleep because the airway is blocked. The irregular breathing can lead to excess saliva production. It’s also extremely bad for your health. If you are drooling at night make sure you get checked professionally for sleep apnea. Your drooling might just save your life.

  • Medication side effect: Certain medications, especially medications that treat psychiatric conditions and Alzheimer’s disease, are known to increase saliva production.

Illness

Narrowed or inflamed sinuses from a cold can cause congestion, so you breathe through your mouth. Open mouth, saliva’s out.

If you have strep throat or another illness that makes swallowing painful, you might drool more at night because, to minimize discomfort, the body swallows less often.

Dysphagia

Dysphagia is when a person has pain or difficulty swallowing. People who experience stroke, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Bell’s palsy, or other neurological disorders may find it more difficult to swallow. Saliva then collects and spills out of your mouth.

What do I do about it?

Your doctor can help you treat drooling because of an illness or condition, but there are a few things you can try right now to see if you can slow the flow.

Sleep on your back

Position yourself so that the easiest escape route for any excess saliva is down your throat.

Manage your allergies

To clear out any allergens you may have picked up outside, take a quick shower before bed and rinse your sinuses with a saline solution. Check your sleep area for dust, pet hair, or other possible allergens.

Diphenhydramine is an effective over-the-counter treatment for allergies because it blocks histamines and other chemicals your body releases in an allergic reaction.

Protect your immune system

Help your body fight off germs with a foundation of immune-boosting supplements such as zinc, echinacea, vitamin C, and quercetin.

Modify your diet

Alcohol and acidic foods can increase saliva production, so limit them if drooling is a problem for you. Drinking plenty of water will help regulate the amount of saliva you produce.

Hopefully with these ideas, the next time you drool will be at a summer barbeque.

Let’s stay healthier, together,

Your friends at Santo Remedio

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