How to stop drooling during your sleep

By Max. D Gray. Updated: June 2, 2017
How to stop drooling during your sleep

After long days, when you just need to switch everything off, we all can get eager for bed. This is because sleep is the ultimate state of relaxation. While it might soothe our minds, it also relaxes the body. Unfortunately, our mouths can relax to the point that we start drooling in our sleep. Waking up with a big patch of soggy pillow is not always the most enjoyable for ourselves, but if we don't sleep alone it can be unpleasant. More than this, it can often be a symptom of an underlying medical condition which may need attention. oneHOWTO is at hand to help you find out how to stop drooling in your sleep as well as see if there are any related concerns to your overall health.

You may also be interested in: How To Avoid Sleeping On Your Stomach
Steps to follow:

Breathing through the nose

Most people drool during sleep because they have a tendency to breathe through the mouth. During sleep, when you are unconscious, you do not have the same control over bodily functions and discharges which you have to take care of. For people who breathe through their mouths, it is normal that saliva dribbles out of the mouth as the movement of swallowing is not as controlled as when awake. If you breathe through your nose, with your mouth closed, saliva will stay in your mouth.

There are many reasons why people cannot breath through their nose and congestion is one of them. This could be from a chronic case of nasal infection (like sinusitis) or even stem from birth. When babies develop, sometimes their palate does not close over properly and can result in a cleft palate or even a bifid uvula. If your sinuses are blocked, then it can force your mouth to open so that you can breathe easier. This can result in increased saliva production and, therefore, drooling.

How to stop drooling during your sleep - Step 1

Visit your ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist

In this way, you can determine whether sinusitis and/or nasal problems are causing you to breathe through the mouth and the reason why you drool in your sleep. If you are congested, try some natural remedies to relieve congestion before going to bed. If the nasal passages are chronically inflamed, a visit to the appropriate doctor may do wonders for swollen nasal passages and relieve sinus problems, allowing you to breathe easily and effortlessly through the nose.

It is important to remember that we all drool. Even if you don't have a case of chronic overproduction of saliva, you can often wake up in the morning with a wet patch on the pillow. If you feel like you are drooling too much, then it could be a sign of an underlying condition, but even then it may not be enough to drastically impact your life. As long as your gag reflexes are in order, there should be no fear of excess saliva going into your lungs.

Hypersalivation is the overproduction of saliva, also know medically as ptyalism or sialorrhea. it might not just be the production of too much saliva, but also the inability to clear it away. This could be caused by many reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Gastroparesis: this is when you are unable to empty the stomach and food remains in there for too long.
  • Mouth ulcers or oral infections: most people have experienced a mouth ulcer at some point, often due to loacalized trauma. If you get them chronically, then it can lead to overproduction of saliva and drooling.
  • Acid reflux: this often happens through over eating or eating rich foods which hinder digestion.
  • Pancreatitis or liver disease: enlarged or inflamed organs near the stomach can cause digestive problems and lead to problems with swallowing. This can cause excess drooling as you are unable to swallow it as well.
  • Vitamin deficiency: specifically vitamin B3 or niacin deficiency.
  • Pregnancy: along with many other conditions which may occur during pregnancy, excess drooling when sleeping is one of them. Often it will vary according to the progression of your pregnancy and should dissipate after childbirth.
  • Dental problems: if you have a tooth infection, abscess or related dental problem, you may find you have excess drool. Treating the tooth infection can stop the associated drooling.
How to stop drooling during your sleep - Step 2

Get used to sleeping on your back

When you sleep on your back, it's harder to drool. Even with your mouth open in this position, salivary excretions stay in the mouth. You can try laying on your back immediately after getting into bed at night. Even if you prefer to sleep on your side, starting to sleep on your back will really help you to stop drooling while sleeping. Should you wake up in the middle of the night find yourself on your side or face down, immediately turn back onto your back. Over time, the body will get used to it and it will be easier to maintain that position. If you are known to snore, sleeping on your back may make the situation worse.

There are some techniques which can help you sleep on your back properly. One of the most effective ways to sleep on your back and stop drooling in your sleep is to use pillows. Putting a pillow under your knees can help keep you aligned, but more effective is to put one underneath each arm. Pillows which keep your head in place are also effective and can mean the rest of your body might be more comfortable as it is level to the bed.

Finding the right sleeping position can be difficult, but it will also help in other areas. It can prevent pains and aches in your back. Unfortunately it is notoriously difficult. If you want to help learn what sleeping positions are best for you, you can in this article. To try to sleep on your back, you have to be vigilant and persistent. If you find yourself drifting off to sleep, but start to turn to your side, try to turn back again. Unfortunately, this is much easier said than done.

How to stop drooling during your sleep - Step 3

Visit the allergist

If your nasal passages are blocked, a visit to a local allergies or ear, nose and throat specialist may be prudent to make sure you keep nostrils clean. This will not only prevent drooling during sleep, but also reduce susceptibility to colds and other respiratory conditions.

It could be that the antihistamine you use is ineffective, but there are other reasons. It could be simple seasonal allergy, like hay fever, but this is something notoriously persistent and aggravating. However, food allergies, particularly dairy allergies, might be the root cause. Again, the allergy can be due to blocked sinuses caused by overproduction of mucus. This means an open mouth and greater potential for drooling. A certified nutritionist or allergist will be best to try to solve the problem and maybe even help you with other related symptoms.

How to stop drooling during your sleep - Step 4

Food, drink and medicine affecting drooling

Unfortunately a lot of the things we enjoy can lead to overproduction of saliva and general hindrance to your quality of sleep. Whether this is due to a rare case of overindulgence or something more chronic, will depend on your lifestyle.

Alcohol can have a bearing on the amount of drool you may produce while sleeping. If you drink a little too much wine over dinner, then drooling in your sleep may be a rarity. If you are concerned about alcohol dependence, then drooling while you sleep may be a minor symptom of a major problem. Consult a doctor or mental health professional for more information.

Eating rich foods can also cause you to drool excessively. Do not eat too soon before bed and do not overeat. Not only can it affect drooling, but it can cause indigestion and affect general gastroenterological issues.

Also, medications you may be taking can affect drooling. Many of these are drugs which people take for depression, anxiety or mental health issues, but not always. If this is the case, then you may need to accept it as a tolerable side effect or speak to your physician about changing medication. Some of these drugs include:

  • aripiprazole: an anti-psychotic used to treat schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder.
  • clozapine: a similar anti-psychotic
  • pilocarpine: eye and mouth drug used to treat glaucoma
  • ketamine: drug used in anaesthesia and pain relief, but is also used recreationally as a narcotic

Often, recommended use of one or more of these drugs can result in excess drooling. However, taking more than your prescription or abusing these drugs can lead to this and greater problems including dependency and potential death.


Last of all: patience

You have to be patient; stopping drooling during sleep is not something you can change overnight. You may find it useful to drink some herbal tea like chamomile to help you sleep and feel more relaxed. If there is a specific medical condition which leads to excess drooling, you may need to seek a doctor's advice to control this issue and stop excess drooling when you sleep as a side effect. If it is a more general lifestyle change, then you may want to consider changing your eating and drinking habits to improve your overall health.

As we stated earlier, drooling in your sleep is normal and will likely happen to us at some point. However, if you think there may be something more concerning, speak with your physician.

Check out our article on the best teas to help you fall asleep if you want to learn more.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to stop drooling during your sleep, we recommend you visit our Mental health category.

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1 comment
Its common sence advice, consequwnces of little sleep was usefull and best positions for sleep, dribberling is still a problem for me, im like an oap. its so embarrasing for me.
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