The Grapevine

Raspy Voice In The Morning? Here's Why Your Voice Changes As The Day Goes On

Morning Voice
Why do we have a deeper voice in the morning? Eric Kilby, CC by 2.0

For many people, a deeper voice in the morning is just one of the many reasons to avoid human contact before you’ve had time to get ready for the day ahead. Other people (mostly men) wish they could maintain their raspy voice all day long. There’s a reason why the voice we go to sleep with is markedly different from the one we wake up with. Actually, there are a couple of reasons for this common and temporary phenomenon. There are also easy ways to remedy a deep voice in the morning if you’re not a fan of sounding like Bill Clinton when you wake up.

“Morning voice,” or the deeper voice we all experience after getting up in the morning, is not to be confused with hoarseness, which tends to be a common symptom caused by a problem with the vocal cords or an inflamed larynx. According to the Cleveland Clinic, hoarseness can be caused by the common cold, upper respiratory tract infection, smoking, allergies, voice abuse, and gastroesophageal reflux or acid reflux — when stomach acid makes its way up the swallowing tube and irritates the vocal cords.

A deeper voice in the morning is an inevitable result of a good night’s rest. During sleep, the tissues in our throat collect fluid, which is also what causes our eyes to look puffy when we just wake up. Our lack of vocal cord use during the night also causes mucus to build up during the hours we spend asleep. People who breathe through their mouth during sleep quickly dry out their vocal cords. This lack of lubrication hinders our vocal cords from moving together, which creates the normal or higher pitch of our voice.

“First and foremost, ‘morning voice’ is caused by fluid collecting in the tissues of our throat and mucus building up overnight,” Susan Berkley, author of Speak To Influence: How To Unlock The Hidden Power Of Your Voice, told Medical Daily. “Mouth breathing is more of a secondary cause. Acid reflux, which refers to stomach acid leaking back up the esophagus, can also result in the raspier voice we tend to wake up with. Eating a big meal before bed or a spicy meal can exasperate this problem. Sleep with your head elevated is one strategy for avoiding a raspy voice in the morning.”

If you are one of the people who would rather not have their voice heard first thing in the morning, you are in luck. It doesn’t take long to alleviate your raspy morning breath. Berkley suggests starting each morning out with two glasses of room temperature water complimented by a squeeze of lemon. This should be done before your morning coffee and tea, which can actually make your throat even drier. Next, while the warm and moist air from your morning shower relaxes your throat muscles, practice humming to “wake up” your voice.

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