Clicking In Throat When Lying Down (Is It Sleep Apnea?)

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There are several causes of clicking sounds in your throat when you’re lying down. These causes are conditions that may or may not be treatable, including sleep apnea, Globus pharyngeus, Laryngospasm, Catethrenia, snoring, and teeth grinding.

Most people may have observed clicking sounds in their throat when they sleep or lie down. The sounds may be barely audible and even sometimes audible to those affected and even other people around them.

In as much as the clicking sounds may be easy to ignore, such as snoring, some may be symptoms of more concerning medical conditions such as throat cancer, swelling of the thyroid gland, and many others. It is advisable to visit the hospital for a more accurate diagnosis in such cases.

Several known conditions may be necessary to understand why you have those clicking sounds in your throat whenever you lie down or sleep. As hinted above, the conditions may be trivial and ignorable, yet symptoms of more severe and even fatal underlying medical conditions in other instances.

We will discuss every one of the conditions mentioned above in detail. We may also briefly discuss what needs to remedy the situation.

So what causes clicking sounds in your throat when you sleep or lie down?

Causes of clicking sound in the throat when lying down

These are the causes behind clicking sound in your throat when you are lying down;

1. Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea describes a sleep disorder condition during which breathing stops and then repeatedly starts. It may also get accompanied by heavy snoring and a feeling of tiredness after a full night’s sleep. When sleep is helpful to remedy fatigue, people with sleep apnea are likely to get tired from sleeping which is totally behind the point.

Sleep apnea mainly has three forms: obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most common type of sleep apnea and occurs when throat muscles relax.

Central sleep apnea, the other kind of sleep apnea, generally happens when the brain does not send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. Complex sleep apnea syndrome, the last type of sleep apnea, occurs when someone has obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Clicking sounds in the throat when one sleeps may probably be a symptom of sleep apnea in one way or another.

2. Globus pharyngeus

When that constant clicking sound in your throat when you sleep gets accompanied by the feeling of a lump in the throat, then you may be experiencing signs of Globus pharyngeus.

The condition may often get described as the sensation of a lump or tightening in the throat.

The tightening of the cricopharyngeal muscles of the throat causes the above condition. The muscles may tighten because of stress or reflux to keep stomach acid and contents from traveling up the esophagus.

The other probable cause of Globus pharyngeus may be the presence of an actual mass in the throat. The mass may be a swollen thyroid gland, a cyst, cancerous growth, or even tonsillitis.

Such complications may necessitate urgent medical intervention and even surgery to remove tumors and cysts.

Muscles and soft tissues surrounding the larynx or voice box may swell or contract, narrowing the passage in a condition known as laryngospasm. If that happens during sleep, the condition may be termed sleep-related. The condition can easily cause obstruction and probably cause clicking sounds when sleeping.

Laryngospasm is most often caused by anxiety or stress. It may also serve as a sign of different medical conditions such as asthma, Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or dysfunction of the vocal cords. It may also happen due to isolated causes that are neither known nor medically recorded.

4. Catathrenia

Catathrenia, also known as nocturnal groaning, may be described as a non-documented sleep-related parasomnia. People with the above condition tend to emit a groaning sound in their throat when sleeping. The sound could be as annoying as it is uncontrolled.

Catathrenia may be caused by partial airway obstruction, vocal cords problems, damage to the part of the brain that controls breathing, and high stress and anxiety levels.

The condition can also manifest through involuntary clicking sounds in the throat during sleep or lying down. There might also be the probability of other unknown causes.

5. Snoring and teeth grinding

Husband is sleeping and snoring which caused his wife to wake up at night

Some other general noises that get mistaken to clicking in the throat when sleeping may be snoring and teeth grinding. Although snoring and teeth grinding do not come from the throat, it might sound like that to someone nearby.

Snoring may not have a remedy, just as it may not be a cause for alarm. Teeth grinding, on the contrary, can come with some risks, such as destroying the enamel of teeth to increase their sensitivity.

It may even cause biting on your cheeks and tongue in the process. In such instances, a mouth guard would be very instrumental in dealing with teeth grinding.


Can anxiety cause clicking in the throat?

Anxiety and stress happen to be some of the most causes of conditions whose one of their symptoms may be clicking in the throat when lying down or sleeping.

What causes a clicking sound in my throat when I sleep?

There may be several conditions that cause clicking in the throat when sleeping. The conditions may include sleep apnea, Globus pharyngeus, Laryngospasm, Catethrenia, snoring, and teeth grinding, among many other possible causes.


I always make it a point to duly advise you that before you make any conclusion or pursue any line of action, it may be very proper for you to make the correct observation. You should consult, and in health matters, an accurate diagnosis from a medical practitioner would serve such a noble purpose.

I know of a friend who went halfway into a dosage of asthma treatment only to be diagnosed later with sleep apnea. It appeared so pointlessly ignorant. Therefore if you are experiencing any clicking sound in your throat, visit your doctor and get a proper diagnosis and medication.

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Nudrat Naheed
Hi, I am Nudrat, The Heart And Brain author, IR student, and painter. Writing about health fascinates me because it helps me to explore a new healthy routine and share it with others. I write primarily about general health, pregnancy, postpartum, and allergies here. If you don't find me writing, I'm busy painting or reading on global politics.

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