Why do I gag in the morning?

Why do I Gag in the Morning? Major Causes and Treatment

The gag reflex is your body’s built-in safeguard against choking. It serves to keep you safe since it activates when something touches the back of your throat. Why do I gag in the morning?” is a common question for those experiencing morning discomfort.

Symptoms of Gagging

Strong, involuntary throat contractions, nausea, retching, and occasionally vomiting are all signs of gagging. Your body does this as a defense mechanism for your airway.

Why do I gag in the morning?

Gagging in the morning can be brought on by a sensitive gag reflex, a buildup of mucus, or acid reflux in the stomach, which is frequently brought on by lying down while you sleep.

Types of Gag Reflex

There are two basic forms of gag reflexes: somatogenic and psychogenic, each with a unique set of triggers.

  • Somatogenic

A defensive reflex known as the somatogenic gag reflex is a physical reaction to irritation in the mouth or throat, such as when a dentist prods your mouth.

  • Psychogenic

In contrast, psychological reactions like fear, tension, or disgust can cause psychogenic gagging, which is a reflex rather than a physical irritant.

What Can Cause a Gag Reflex Every Morning?

Morning gagging can be brought on by a number of factors. The morning gag reflex can be brought on by gastrointestinal, bacterial, environmental, or even neurological problems.

Gastrointestinal Causes

Morning gagging can include gastrointestinal reasons, including gastritis, acid reflux, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). These ailments might cause irritability and regurgitation of stomach contents, which can awaken the gag reflex.


Morning gagging might be brought on by digestive issues like gastritis because of elevated stomach acid or discomfort.

Acid Reflux

Gagging can result from acid reflux, which is frequently connected to heartburn and causes stomach contents to flow back into the throat.

Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)

GERD that is chronic can frequently produce morning attacks of nausea.

Infectious Causes 

Viral or bacterial infections that damage the throat can be the source of infectious causes of morning gagging. These infections irritate the throat’s lining, which causes discomfort and wake-up gag reflex activation.

Viral Infection

The throat can become sore from some viral illnesses, which sets off the gag reflex.

Bacterial Infection

Throat infections brought on by bacteria might cause morning gagging.

Environmental Causes

Medication that produces throat inflammation may be the source of environmental factors that cause morning gagging. Morning gag reflex episodes can also be caused by illnesses including mini-strokes (TIAs), retropharyngeal abscesses, epiglottis irritation, and neurological problems.


As a side effect of several drugs, a dry or inflamed throat might result in morning gagging.

Mini-Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

The brain’s ability to modulate reflexes may be impacted by transient ischemia episodes, which could result in morning gagging.

Retropharyngeal Abscess

Inflammation of the gag reflex brought on by a throat abscess might result in morning gagging.

Inflammation of the epiglottis

Morning gag reflexes can be brought on by epiglottis swelling.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Reflex control may be hampered by neurological diseases like ALS, which can cause morning gagging episodes.

Anxiety and panic attacks

Extreme episodes of fear and anxiety are known as anxiety and panic attacks. Stress is frequently the cause of symptoms including a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, perspiration, and a sense of approaching doom. Understanding “Why do I gag in the morning?” can lead to better morning routines.

How Can You Get Rid of the Gag Reflex in the Morning?

Practice controlled breathing, keep good oral hygiene, stay away from triggers like strong odors, and think about relaxing activities like yoga or meditation if you want to lessen your morning gag response. If it continues, see a doctor.

Home Remedies in Cases of Minor Causes

There are various natural solutions that can help with minor morning gag reflex concerns. They consist of herbal tea, relaxation techniques, over-the-counter drugs, quitting smoking, and desensitization techniques.

Smoking Cessation

As smoking irritates the throat and interferes with the gag reflex, quitting can improve throat health and lessen morning gagging. If necessary, seek assistance to break this behavior.

Over-the-counter Medications

Some over-the-counter antacids or throat lozenges can relieve acid reflux or irritation symptoms, which lowers the likelihood of morning gagging. For acceptable alternatives, speak with a pharmacist.

Rest Smart

By elevating your upper body with additional pillows while you sleep, you might lessen throat irritation and acid reflux, which may help you avoid morning gag reflex episodes.

Anxiety-induced Gagging

Since lowering stress can have a good effect on the gag reflex, managing anxiety with relaxation techniques, counseling, or medication can help with anxiety-induced morning gagging.

Drinking herbal tea

Drinking non-caffeinated herbal teas, such as chamomile or ginger tea, might ease throat discomfort and lessen morning gagging symptoms.

Desensitization Techniques for Gag Reflex

Morning gagging can be lessened by gradually exposing oneself to triggers while utilizing implements like a tongue depressor or a fresh toothbrush to help desensitize the gag reflex.


By focusing on particular spots to relieve throat tension and enhance general wellbeing, acupuncture therapy may offer relief and maybe lessen the sensitivity of the morning gag reflex.


By relaxing the throat muscles and lowering sensitivity, applying little pressure to particular acupressure points, such as the P6 point on the wrist, might help reduce morning choking.


Over time, brushing the back of your neck and tongue with a clean toothbrush will help desensitize the gag reflex, which can lessen morning discomfort.

Why is my gag reflex triggered more easily in the morning than at night?

The morning gag response may be more sensitive as a result of things like overnight dehydration, mucus buildup, and stomach acid buildup. Your body leaves a state of rest as you awaken, which can intensify the response. It is also more easily activated in the morning than at night because of individual differences in saliva production and general body sensitivity.

Why do I gag when I try to eat food in the morning?

Gagging while eating in the morning might be brought on by a sensitive gag reflex, being dehydrated from the previous night, or being sensitive to stomach acid. Breakfast can be more comfortable by eating slowly, drinking water, and avoiding overpowering flavors. This will help reduce morning gagging.

What medications can cause gagging?

An adverse effect of several drugs is gagging. Some antibiotics, blood pressure medicines, and iron supplements are frequent offenders. Consult your doctor for other options or pain-relieving techniques if you experience chronic gagging while taking medicine.

Are there tests to diagnose the cause of gagging?

Diagnostic procedures can indeed reveal the root of chronic gagging. These could involve barium swallow tests, imaging such as CT scans, or endoscopy to evaluate the throat and esophagus. A good diagnosis and treatment strategy depend on consulting a medical expert.


It’s essential to address the question, “Why do I gag in the morning?” for a more pleasant start to the day. In conclusion, gastrointestinal problems, infections, environmental variables, and worry are only a few of the causes of morning gagging. Home cures, including quitting smoking, over-the-counter medicines, and relaxation techniques, may help with minor cases. Consult a healthcare professional for a diagnosis and specialized treatment options if your symptoms are severe or persistent. Understanding the underlying cause might help you handle it effectively and start your day more comfortably.

Also Read: Why Do I Wake Up with a Sweet Taste in My Mouth?

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