The Mysterious World Of Sleep Drooling: Why Does It Happen?


Sleep is a fascinating and essential part of our lives, and while most of us don't give much thought to the details of what happens when we're asleep, there are some curious and even humorous occurrences that can take place during slumber. One such phenomenon is drooling while we sleep. Why do we sometimes wake up with a damp pillow, and is there anything we can do to prevent it? In this blog, we'll explore the science behind sleep drooling and offer some insights into its causes and potential solutions.

The Science of Sleep

Before delving into the mystery of sleep drooling, let's briefly understand what happens when we sleep. Sleep is a complex process that occurs in several stages, including non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Throughout the night, we cycle through these stages multiple times.

During NREM sleep, our body relaxes and repairs itself, and our muscles become less active. This is when we are most likely to experience sleep drooling. When we enter REM sleep, our brain activity increases, and this is when we typically experience vivid dreams.

The Causes of Sleep Drooling

  1. Muscle Relaxation: As mentioned earlier, during NREM sleep, our muscles become quite relaxed, including the muscles in our face and mouth. This relaxation can cause the muscles that normally keep our mouth closed to become slack, leading to drooling.

  2. Gravity: Gravity also plays a role in sleep drooling. When we sleep on our back, saliva can more easily pool in our mouths and escape when the muscles are relaxed.

  3. Sleep Position: The position you sleep in can influence whether or not you drool. Sleeping on your side may help prevent drooling compared to sleeping on your back.

  4. Sleep Disorders: Certain sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea or snoring, can increase the likelihood of drooling because they disrupt your sleep and breathing patterns.

  5. Medications and Allergies: Some medications and allergies can lead to increased saliva production, making it more likely that you'll drool in your sleep.

The Benefits of Sleep Drooling

While waking up with a damp pillowcase may not be your idea of an ideal morning, it's worth noting that sleep drooling serves a purpose. Saliva contains enzymes that help break down food particles and prevent tooth decay. When we drool during sleep, it can actually help protect our teeth and oral health.

Preventing Sleep Drooling

If you find sleep drooling to be a frequent issue, there are some strategies you can try to reduce it:

  1. Sleep on your side: Sleeping on your side can help keep your airway open and reduce the chances of drooling.

  2. Use a thicker pillow: A thicker pillow can help elevate your head and reduce the likelihood of saliva pooling in your mouth.

  3. Stay hydrated: Oddly enough, staying hydrated during the day may reduce nighttime drooling. When you're adequately hydrated, your body may produce less saliva during sleep.

  4. Manage allergies and medications: If you suspect that allergies or medications are contributing to your drooling, consult with a healthcare professional to explore alternatives or solutions.

  5. Consider a mouthguard: Some people find relief from drooling by using a mouthguard designed to keep the mouth closed during sleep.


Sleep drooling may be a common and sometimes embarrassing occurrence, but it's a natural part of the sleep cycle. Understanding the causes and potential solutions can help you manage it and ensure a more comfortable night's sleep. So, the next time you wake up with a wet pillow, remember that your body is simply doing its job to protect your oral health while you rest peacefully.

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