Drooling While Sleeping: Know Why It Happens And How To Stop

Drooling While Sleeping
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

If you tend to drool while you sleep, don’t be ashamed. It’s more common than you think and is usually harmless but can also be an indication that there is a deeper issue at hand. First, let’s find out more about drooling.

What Is Drooling?

Drooling is medically termed as sialorrhea[1] which means excessive saliva production. It’s more common in babies especially when they are teething and in children who exhibit muscular, behavioral and neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy.

A variety of glands in your body contribute to the production of saliva which is what comes out of your mouth when you drool.

You produce more saliva in your waking state than when you are sleeping; however, there is no issue with drooling because during your resting state, your facial muscles are relaxed and that’s when the saliva that is produced in your glands is accumulated within your mouth.

It then ends up leaking out because it’s not being swallowed consistently.

You may notice that drooling is more obvious when you are sleeping on your side and hardly ever when you are sleeping on your back.

That’s because the saliva that is produced in your mouth when you’re sleeping on your back settles in the back of your throat and then drains out eventually.

When you are on your side, it has nowhere to settle and drains out of your mouth. That’s when you notice the drool stains on your pillow and the need to wipe your mouth when you wake up.

What Are The Medical And Other Causes Of Drooling That You Should Be Aware Of?

Other Causes Of Drooling

If you are hoping to end your drooling incidences once and for all, the following are the top 7 reasons why you may be drooling:

1.Your Sleeping Position Is Matters – The plan of action to stopping your tendency to drool could be as simple as changing your sleeping position.

If you sleep on your stomach or on your side, your mouth is more relaxed and often opened and this is when saliva can drip out.

By keeping consistent by sleeping on your back, you end up swallowing the saliva more thus avoiding drooling.

2.If You Suffer From Allergies – If you suffer from allergic rhinitis and food allergies, then you are more susceptible to an over production of saliva which results in drooling when you are asleep.

It’s important to be aware of your allergies and talk to your health practitioner to limit your allergic reactions. The most common foods[2] that may cause allergies are:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Tree Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Wheat
  • Fish and Shellfish

3. If You Have Infections In Your Sinuses – Upper respiratory tract infections are usually associated with breathing and swallowing problems, which can cause drooling due to accumulation of saliva.

Also, when your nasal passages are blocked due to flu, you tend to breathe with your mouth, which causes the excess saliva to flow out while sleeping.

Sinuses Infection

4. If You Suffer From Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease[3] Then You Have A Higher Tendency To Drool While You Sleep – Suffering from episodes of acid reflux can cause gastric acid to stimulate your esophagus, due to this the esophagus salivary reflex is stimulated which leads to saliva production in excess.

5. If You Have Tonsillitis – If you are challenged with Tonsillitis[4], an inflammation of the tonsils, you can drool in your sleep. Tonsils are glands at the back of your throat.

If you have ever had a sore throat, you can usually feel your tonsils on either side of your throat from the outside of your neck.

When these glands inflame, they swell up your throat and the passage becomes narrower therefore obstructing the ability to drain the saliva to the back of your through.

6. If You Have Sleep Terrors – Suffering from sleep terrors[5] can be hard but having to worry about the added challenge of drooling can be frustrating. Drooling is common symptom with if you suffer from sleep terrors.

There are many reasons that you are suffering from sleep terrors. It can be manifested because of psychopathological reasons.

If you are under a large amount of emotional stress, sleep terrors can be activated. Other reasons that can trigger sleep terrors could be:

  • Taking certain types of drugs and chemicals such as; alcohol and sedatives.
  • Experiencing consistent sleep deprivation.
  • If you suffer from sleep-related disorders such as; somnambulism[6] (sleep walking) or somniloquy[7] (sleep talking).
Sleep Walking

7. If You Are On Certain Types Of Medications Or Take Drugs – Certain medications that you are on may cause drooling while you sleep. Types of drugs that can contribute to drooling are;

antidepressants, morphine, pilocarpine and certain types of antibiotics. Consult your doctor about certain medications that you feel are contributing to your drooling and see if you can change medications.

Other Reason Why You May Drooling While You Sleep

  • You Are A Mouth Breather – Sometimes, it can be difficult to breathe through your nose while you are sleeping due to such reason as sinus infections, nasal congestion, deviated septum[8] and even because of allergies. The sooner that you can find a solution for alleviating or even healing those ailments, the easier it can get to avoid the struggle of drooling.
  • Neurological Disorders – Certain neurological disorders can trigger the onset of drooling while you sleep such as; Autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Stroke, Facial Paralysis Down Syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Cerebral Palsy, and Multiple sclerosis.
  • Dental Challenges – If you suffer from dental challenges such as teeth infections or gum disease, then you may be more susceptible to drooling as these increase* the production of saliva in your mouth.

See More: A Step-By-Step Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

Conclusion

You now have an idea to why you may be drooling while you are sleeping and some possible treatments. There are many clinical and holistic approaches to treat* drooling and avoid the suffering.

It is important to consult your doctor or natural health practitioner for the best possible treatment route for you and your situation and to get to the possible underlying problem to why you are susceptible to drooling in the first place.

References:

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3709276/
[2] http://www.webmd.com/allergies/food-triggers
[3] http://www.thehealthsite.com/gerd/
[4] http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/tonsillitis-symptoms-causes-and-treatments
[5] http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-terrors/home/ovc-20341112
[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2917078/
[7] http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/talking-in-your-sleep
[8] http://www.webmd.com/allergies/deviated-septum

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Author

Expert Author : Dr. Ahmed Zayed (Consumer Health Digest)

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, currently he is working as a Plastic surgeon and is doing his masters at Ain shams University.