You’ve likely experienced a head rush or dizziness of varying severity when you get up too quickly after lying down for a while. It goes away and you continue with what you were doing.
But what about experiencing dizziness when lying down? It seems odd and can be rather concerning. Not having your bearings can lead to anxiety and all kinds of questions about what exactly is going on.
There are a number of dizziness causes, but knowing them may not make dealing with it any easier. Dizziness when lying down and getting up, and trying to go about your business when you feel like you could fall at any minute isn’t exactly a comfortable state of mind.
If you experience dizziness when lying down and closing your eyes, or notice that your dizziness is worse when lying down, it could be the result of a number of issues. When you feel dizzy you’re usually describing feelings of lightheadedness or faintness.
You may also feel as though the world is moving around you, when in reality nothing is moving at all—this is known as vertigo. Recognizing these differences is important when you’re trying to figure out the causes of your dizziness.
While this can happen to anybody, older adults are much more likely to experience dizziness than younger people.
Dizziness causes and symptoms include:
- Feeling as though you or your surroundings are tilting;
- Dizziness when lying down and closing your eyes;
- Feeling off-balance;
- Dizziness when lying down and turning your head;
- Whirling feelings;
- Dizziness when lying down and getting up;
- Falling; and
Dizziness When Lying Down: Causes
Dizziness may be a little more common when you’re lying down because your equilibrium may be slightly compromised. This is enhanced if you stand up quickly, turn your head, or close your eyes.
For example, how often have you experienced a floating sensation of dizziness when lying down and closing your eyes?
Sometimes it just takes a second for your brain to catch up with your senses, just as when you experience dizziness after standing up from a snooze. But dizziness can also be the result of:
Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)
Low blood pressure can lead to poor circulation and lack of oxygen, resulting in dizziness.
If you have low blood pressure which leads to poor circulation, the lack of oxygen to the brain may result in dizziness. It might not cause dizziness if your blood pressure is consistently low and you’re accustomed to it, but rather if it fluctuates quickly from high or normal to low.
Low blood pressure is categorized by a systolic blood pressure of 100 or less (the top number) and a diastolic blood pressure of 60 or less (the bottom number).
If you are feeling dizziness due to low blood pressure, adding some salt to your diet and drinking some more water may help bring it back up, which should eradicate the dizzy spell.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
One of the most common occurrences of dizziness when lying down, BPPV is when you’re stationary but you feel as though the world is moving around you (1).
Inside the labyrinth of your ear—a section of the inner ear responsible for hearing and balance—calcium stones move around freely.
In people with BPPV, however, their movement is impeded, resulting in dizziness. A dizzy spell from BPPV can last anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes, and is common in older people who’ve experienced natural deterioration in the inner ear.
It may also happen to young people who may have suffered a head injury. There’s not much you can do to combat this, so simply sit down and wait for it to end before slowly getting up and continuing your day.
This is another type of vertigo that can cause dizziness when you’re lying down or standing up. Typically the result of a viral infection such as a cold or the flu, labyrinthitis may also be accompanied by ear pain or a fever.
Treating it may be as simple as getting more sleep until the body has healed itself from the infection.
Cold and flu medications can work, as well as eating fruits and vegetables with antioxidant capabilities to boost your immune system. Green tea may be effective, too.
Dizziness may be a side effect of taking medication.
Dizziness or lightheadedness is a common side effect of many medications, so if you’re taking prescription drugs to treat high blood pressure, depression, or bacterial infections (antibiotics), that could be the cause; even pain medication.
Herbal supplements such as St. John’s wort and echinacea may also lead to dizziness or lightheadedness.
Anxiety may also lead to dizziness and lightheadedness, and so can various medical forms of treatment for the condition. Dizziness can be the result of social anxiety, panic attacks, stress, and hyperventilation.
If you find yourself experiencing dizziness resulting from stress or a panic attack, it might be worthwhile to consider a form of treatment such as mindfulness or meditation to help you calm yourself in pressing situations.
Dehydration or Over/Under Eating
When your body is low on fluids and electrolytes, you can experience dizziness when lying down, standing up, or even sitting.
The risk for dehydration increases when you’re exposed to heat, have been exercising, are underfed, or have been on a long airplane ride. The best treatment is to continually drink water throughout the day.
For rapid relief, drinking a couple of ounces of pickle juice can be very effective.
If you go too long without food, the drop in blood sugar can also result in dizziness. To get it back up, you should eat a meal or drink a sugary beverage such as fruit juice to raise blood sugar levels. Sitting and resting can also help.
Age is one of the more common causes of dizziness when lying down.
It’s no secret that age introduces an increasing number of health issues from years of wear and tear on the body. Age is actually one of the more common causes of dizziness.
You’re also more likely to acquire other conditions that can lead to dizziness; things like tremors and Parkinson’s disease can make you feel lightheaded.
Other Causes of Dizziness
In fact, dizziness when lying down and vomiting are some symptoms of morning sickness. Other common dizziness causes include:
- Heart arrhythmias, irregular heartbeats, and atrial fibrillation;
- Low blood sugar (common in diabetics);
- Migraine headaches;
- Atherosclerosis, particularly when it occurs in arteries leading to the brain; and
- Alcohol, cigarettes, and other recreational drugs.
How to Prevent Dizziness When Lying Down
You can reduce your chances of experiencing dizziness when lying down by staying hydrated and not making any rapid movements. You can also:
- Avoid making quick changes in the position of your head or body. This can throw off your equilibrium and result in dizziness. This is especially true if you’re lying down, twisting, turning, changing directions, or quickly moving from a seated or prone position to an upright or standing position.
- Limit substances that can reduce blood circulation and blood oxygen. This includes alcohol, caffeinated beverages, salt, and tobacco (and other forms of smoking).
- Stay hydrated.
- Work on ways to limit stress and anxiety. Things such as sleep, mediation, mindfulness, exercise, tai-chi, reading, gardening, etc., can all help relieve stress and anxiety.
- Avoid allergens. Dizziness can occur by eating or breathing things you are allergic to, so it’s best to find ways to avoid or limit their effects.
- Treat infections such as colds and flus quickly.