Causes of Nausea When Lying Down: 5 Tips for Getting Relief

Did you ever have a feeling of sickness and want to vomit? This sensation is also known as nausea. It can strike your system at any point of the day. When you have had a full, large meal and you lay down just after eating. You will feel some acids or gastric juices climbing up your throat.

Or, when you are pregnant, and you wake up in the morning feeling like vomiting.

Nausea itself is not something dangerous but sometimes it indicates something else. A symptom of another affliction or ailment. Or just probably without a root cause at all.

The ailments may range from various gastrointestinal conditions like GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder to anxiety. Moreover, nausea when lying down may be due to some medications you are on now.

If you experience dizziness and nausea when lying down, this write-up will help you.

Why do I feel nauseous when I lay down?

Nausea is an unsettling sensation that gives you the urge to vomit. There are numerous reasons as to why you feel that way, especially nausea when lying flat on back.

You could have viral gastroenteritis or what we call stomach flu. Your nausea when lying down may come with vomiting if it is due to a virus in your tummy.

nausea when lying down

Have you eaten something that caused nausea, vomiting accompanied by diarrhea? The sensation that you are having may be due to food poisoning.

Migraines, motion sickness, adverse reactions from medications induce nausea, too. These are some of the probable acute reasons. There are chronic cases too.

Why do you feel the sensation of nausea when lying down? Well, you could have gallstones. Having gallstones comes with other symptoms such as shoulder, upper abdomen, or back pain.

Related: How to stop a gallbladder attack while it is happening?

The feeling of nausea comes after consuming a fatty meal. Do you want to confirm if you have a case of gallstone? If gallstones cause your nausea when lying down or after meals, your doctor has to conduct a scan and some tests.

Another disorder that may trigger your nausea when lying down is GERD. GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a condition wherein your stomach contents regurgitate back up into your throat. GERD causes your sensation of nausea and stomach acidity.

You probably notice that GERD induces nausea when lying down right after consuming a meal. The condition GERD is why medical professionals advise patients to avoid lying down abruptly right after meals. Patients with GERD need to take some medications to address the clinical manifestations.

Adding up to the list of GIT complaints that may induce your nausea when lying down is the condition called peptic ulcer. Peptic ulcers are due to H. pylori bacteria or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications).

Peptic ulcer triggers pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, and nausea.

Are you feeling uneasy or chest pain and nausea when lying down? Our emotions play a part in our physical manifestations. Do you feel nausea when lying down while thinking or undergoing stress? Why is that so?

Our stomach’s lining consists of nerves. What these nerves do helps to push food down. The nerves are there to help our abdomen to expand or contract during the whole process.

When you are anxious or stressed, your brain transmits beacons to your abdomen thereby, causes it to contract further. All these sensations and signals may trigger nausea.

Nausea when lying down early pregnancy

In cases of childbearing mothers, morning sickness is a common occurrence. What happens during an attack of morning sickness? Well, it makes nausea worse when lying down in the morning.

Despite it being termed as morning sickness, the feeling of nausea accompanied by vomiting may happen to you at any point of the day.

nausea when lying down

The morning sickness usually takes place during the first trimester of the pregnancy. The complaint may extend for a lengthy time for some mothers. They sometimes complaints about nausea when lying down pregnant third trimester. This condition is also known as hyperemesis gravidarum.

Related: Foods to Avoid While Pregnant

Why does pregnancy induce nausea then? When a woman gets pregnant, hormones in her body increases. The hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG triggers morning sickness during maternity.

Feeling nauseous at night female

Maybe you are not pregnant. But still, you feel nausea when lying down or simply at some points of the day? How to sleep when you feel like throwing up?

We already mentioned how hormones play a role during the occurrence of nausea at pregnancy. Taking OCP or oral contraceptive pills also targets your hormones. When you use them, you could also have got sensations of nausea.

Why lying down makes me nauseous

Do you ever get dizzy or the sensations of nausea when lying down? The manifestation may mean you have an inner ear problem. Our ears, aside from hearing, are also responsible for maintaining balance.

The peripheral vestibular system triggers you to feel lightheaded when you lie down.

The condition is known as BPPV or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. What happens when you have vertigo? The illness afflicts your inner ear making positional changes of your head triggers it.

So certain motions trigger nausea when lying down, or the room suddenly felt like spinning around.

Nausea when lying down on right side

Our sleeping positions also affect and trigger nausea, especially when lying on the right side or flat. But why is that so?

When you lie with your back flat on a bed or your right, the duct that helps prevent your stomach acids from going back to your esophagus cannot simply control the reflux. Gravity played a part in this event.

Related: Why Do I Have Pain in Right Side Under Ribs?

When you have GERD or acid reflux, it is best to sleep on your left side and remain inclined. Sleeping in this position helps people with the condition and provides relief from heartburn. In this way, you don’t have to worry about nausea when lying down on left side.

The left side sleeping stance is the proper one that forces your stomach contents to stay within and not leak out to your esophageal valve.

How to stop feeling sick when lying down

We now have an idea of what causes nausea when lying down. The conditions mentioned will give you insights on how to prevent feeling sick when you rest down.

Small but frequent meals

Try to have small but frequent meals. Dividing your foods into little feedings or at least six small ones per day will help your stomach from feeling too full. Becoming too full when you have GERD can trigger an increase in the production of stomach acids.

It also helps to eat slowly to make sure that the foods taken go through proper digestion.

Wait a while after a meal

Do not lie down after meals. Allow at least two to three after meals before resting. When you opt to lie down right away with your stomach full, you are compressing the lower esophageal sphincter.

When you compress this sphincter, you will trigger reflux.

When lying down, make sure to incline your head and stay on your left side. Avoid laying flat, too. Elevating your head will help prevent regurgitation.

You can eat bland or plain crackers. What do plain crackers do?

Try starchy foods

Plain crackers are rich in starch. It aids in absorbing gastric acid. Also, since plain crackers are bland, it gives satisfaction to your hunger.

When we are hungry, we also feel nauseated. Bland crackers do not have a strong smell even taste. This is why it helps with nausea or vomiting.

Water and ice

Try sipping on ice chips and consuming at least six glasses of water per day or even some ginger ale. If your stomach is empty, it will make your nausea even worse.

nausea when lying down

FAQ

What causes nausea when lying down?

Nausea is not a harmful condition but rather a manifestation. It can occur at any point of the day. There are multitudes of reasons as to why you have nausea when lying down.

For females, your nausea can be because you are pregnant. If you are pregnant and you experience nausea, this is also known as morning sickness. The condition occurs during your first trimester but can extend for months, too.

If you are not pregnant but taking OCPs or birth control pills, they may cause nausea, too. The common denominator of these two is hormones. Fluctuations in hormones trigger nausea in the system.

Nausea when lying down can also be due to some gastrointestinal disorders like GERD, stomach ulcers, indigestion, viral gastroenteritis, or food poisoning.

Since ulcers can also come from NSAIDs, medications can also cause nausea when lying down.

What position should I sleep in if I feel nauseous?

When there is nausea when lying down or sleeping, it is best to sleep with your head inclined or elevated. Also, try to sleep while lying on your left side.

Sleeping on your left side with the aid of gravity helps with stopping the regurgitation or opening of your esophageal valve.

Why not sleep on my right side then? Again, gravity plays a key.

Your body is going to work against gravity to return acid components to your stomach. The process becomes much more difficult and time-consuming. The right side sleeping position may cause a leaky faucet feeling by allowing digestive juices to enter the gentle lining of the esophagus.

When should I be concerned about nausea?

The general rule and advice always apply. Consult your physician if the symptoms persist. If you cannot hold down or take in anything orally, like food or liquids for hours.

If the sensation of nausea does not go away even with the home remedies or by the use of over-the-counter medications, and you feel like there is an impending medical emergency, please visit your doctor for the best advice possible.

You may require some investigations to confirm what causes or triggers your nausea.

Why do I feel sick all the time but never vomit?

Nausea is not a disease but a sign of an issue. Feeling sick, down, or nauseous but cannot or never vomits? It might be due to various reasons.

You may be anxious or under stress, hungry, lack sleep, pregnant, or have an underlying chronic illness or condition.

Hormones, gastric acids, or ailments, and our brain can play a key in triggering your complaint.

When you go too long without eating, your blood glucose levels decline. You may experience nausea and dizziness if your blood sugar falls too low.

Just make sure that if you eat, try avoiding sweet, greasy, fried, or sweet foods as they may aggravate nausea.

Does laying down make nausea worse?

If you are now feeling nauseous, sitting, or lying down but in a propped-up position may help prevent the sensation.

Does laying down help nausea?

If you are pregnant and feel a wave of sickness coming on, the best thing you can do is lie down. Try closing your eyes, inhale deeply, and take some snooze. It’s not always possible but take breaks whenever you can.

Many experts believe that sleep is an excellent way to avoid morning sickness, and the body certainly requires it given the requirement for energy and health between you and your growing baby.

Does sleep help nausea?

Sleep helps foster good health, overall mood, and basically, the fuel of our lives. Can sleep help you with your nausea?

The quick answer possible is since there are numerous causes of nausea, such as stomach aches, prescription drugs, dizziness, acid reflux, and childbearing, sleep can help fight this.

While napping as a general cure for nausea has not been thoroughly researched, chronic insomnia can trigger stress and anxiety, which activates the body’s flight or fight.

Lack of sleep, stress, and anxiety ultimately induce nausea.

As a result, if insomnia is the cause of nausea, sleep may help alleviate it, making it critical to start practicing good sleeping habits and treat any underlying sleep problems.

Furthermore, it is always best to look for other health problems that could cause and trigger your nausea symptoms.

Why should you never sleep on your right side?

Lying in bed on the right side can increase the amount of acid that leaks through your esophagus. Lying on your stomach or back exacerbates GERD symptoms. Patients who sleep on their left sides have a reduced risk of GERD problems.

Conclusion

Nausea, in general, is a symptom that something else is going on within your body. There are various reasons why nausea occurs to you.

Nausea can occur at any point of time of your day. Nausea when lying down or during nighttime is usually indicative of acid reflux, anxiety, stress, hunger, medication side effects like NSAIDs, peptic ulcers, and pregnancy are some of the most frequent reasons.

Consult your physician if your nausea is extreme or persistent or if you have terrible headaches or unexplained weight loss in addition to nighttime nausea. They can determine the source of your complaints and consider all possible and best treatments.

Dr. Omair Ansar, MBBS, MSc

Dr. Omair is a skilled medical doctor with a degree in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from Baqai Medical University. In 2018, he completed a Master of Science degree in Healthcare Management with distinction from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK. With 9 years of clinical and non-clinical experience, Dr. Omair has gained hands-on experience and extensive knowledge in the medical field. He is currently working in a multinational healthcare organization in Saudi Arabia where his primary responsibility is to train doctors, pharmacists, and nurses about the most updated clinical guidelines as well as conduct case discussions with various specialties to ensure patient safety and satisfaction. Dr. Omair is also an exceptional medical reviewer with expertise in the field of healthcare, pharmaceutical, food and nutrition as well as medical insurance. He has years of experience in writing and reviewing medical articles.

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