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Dizzy in bed in the morning
December 20, 2013 5:04 AM   Subscribe

I've been waking up before my alarm the last few days, seemingly just so I can be dizzy for 5 minutes before I go back to sleep. When I do wake up, any movement causes me to be dizzy and I have to lay there for another 10 minutes or so before I feel good enough to get up. After that, the dizziness is gone until the next morning. You're not my doctor, but any ideas or suggestions?

I'm a 24 year old otherwise (I think) healthy-ish female. I have been living in China for a few months now, so there's new food and drink to consider. My biggest thought is that I'm dehydrated, because although I do drink plenty once I get home for the evening, I (somewhat purposely) avoid drinking too much water during the day. I haven't had any alcohol since before this began.

I do have a science background and I understand what dizziness is and all that, I just don't understand why it only seems to happen while I'm laying down and only in the morning. I'd really like it to stop, because every morning I question whether or not I can actually go to work.

I did wake up one evening last week, dizzy with the spins, and then later that night got up and got sick. I was better within a day or two, but the dizziness has stuck around. I suspect that sickness was from bad food, but why won't the dizziness go away?

Other than drinking more fluids (which I will try my best to do, and have been doing already to no avail), do you have any ideas about what could be going on or how to fix it? I'd hesitate to go to the trouble of having someone take me to the doctor over something this minor.
posted by sarae to Health & Fitness (15 answers total)
 
You may have a low grade ear infection that is causing an inbalance, which causes nausea.

You may have low blood sugar, perhaps keep something a bit sugary by your bed and sip it before trying to rise. Orange juice, soda, etc.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:07 AM on December 20, 2013


You might want to check with a cardiologist regarding the possibility of POTS.
posted by HuronBob at 5:08 AM on December 20, 2013


BPPV?
posted by crocomancer at 5:27 AM on December 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have a history of both BPPV and migraine accompanied by vertigo. I discovered several years ago that I will be dizzy in the AM if I lie on my right side. I now sleep only on my left side or on my back, and haven't been dizzy in the morning since.

If it's BPPV, there are "exercises" you can do to move the fragments so that they stop causing the vertigo. A short course of a diuretic helped me, too.

Good luck. Vertigo, even low grade, sucks.
posted by Dolley at 6:07 AM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


My husband has had this with allergies causing fluids to build up in non-ideal locations. If you have any antihistamines available, try those for a few nights.

(And the obvious that you did not mention: No chance of pregnancy?)
posted by tchemgrrl at 6:12 AM on December 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


High blood pressure can make you dizzy upon waking. Which is not a minor thing at all despite the minor dizziness.
posted by Mitheral at 7:09 AM on December 20, 2013


Have you tried sleeping in an alternate position (on your other side, on your Bach/stomach)?
posted by Kruger5 at 7:51 AM on December 20, 2013


I had some minor vertigo a few years ago that gave me dizziness worst when I woke up in the morning, if that helps.
posted by sandwiches at 8:33 AM on December 20, 2013


I was diagnosed with BPPV this summer, possibly secondary to some new medications I'm on, and this sounds exactly what it feels like.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:20 AM on December 20, 2013


I do have a science background and I understand what dizziness is and all that, I just don't understand why it only seems to happen while I'm laying down and only in the morning. I'd really like it to stop, because every morning I question whether or not I can actually go to work.

I did wake up one evening last week, dizzy with the spins, and then later that night got up and got sick. I was better within a day or two, but the dizziness has stuck around. I suspect that sickness was from bad food, but why won't the dizziness go away?


You may have heard that people are thought to get nauseated and throw up when they have motion induced vertigo because eating something bad causes the inner ear to send very similar signals to the brain that such vertigo does.

I suspect you have an inner ear problem of long standing which would have produced vertigo on a continuing basis, except that your brain learned to ignore that signal since it was never or almost never associated with having actually eaten something bad.

Now that you have eaten something bad however, that signal from your inner ear can no longer be as safely ignored as a false alarm, your brain is no longer ignoring it, and you experience vertigo.

I'd guess it'll probably go away again eventually on its own, but there's no telling how long that might take.

That it happens only when you're lying down does make it sound like BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo), and there happens to be a standard non-invasive treatment for BPPV called the Epley maneuver:
The Epley maneuver or repositioning maneuver is a maneuver used to treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)[1] of the posterior or anterior canals.[2] Free floating particles from the affected semicircular canal are relocated, using gravity, back into the utricle, where they can no longer stimulate the cupula, therefore relieving the patient of bothersome vertigo.[2][3] It is often performed by a medical doctor, doctor of chiropractic, occupational therapist, audiologist or physical therapist, after confirmation of a diagnosis of BPPV using the Dix-Hallpike test and has a reported success rate of between 90–95%.[4][5][6] This maneuver was developed by Dr. John Epley and first described in 1980.[7] Physiotherapists and some chiropractors now use a version of the maneuver called the "modified" Epley that does not include vibrations of the mastoid process originally indicated by Epley, as they have since been shown not to improve the efficacy of the treatment.[8]
I've heard of people successfully accomplishing the maneuver on their own, but I'd want to work with a professional.
posted by jamjam at 5:49 PM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Have you checked your blood pressure?

It strikes me that Chinese food is salty food - with added soy sauce, it's extremely so. If you've been consciously trying not to drink too much during the day but you're consuming salty food every day you may be setting yourself up for some renal problems that would show up with blood pressure elevation and dizziness in the morning.

Alternatively, and skipping all the salty food stuff, you could have low blood pressure, which makes you dizzy when you first stand up from a prone position.

A small wrist cuff isn't expensive and you can use it easily all by yourself - I think you should consider purchasing one and using it to get some basic information: BP before bed, sitting up; BP when you wake up, before sitting up; BP immediately upon sitting up; BP when standing up; then skip the sitting up one and just get the just-woke-up one and immediately upon standing up.

If there's no dramatic change in your blood pressure and it's in a normal range, the problem is probably in your inner ear, but I'd expect an inner ear disturbance to affect you at other times, not just when waking up.

And if you can, by all means see a doctor - it's probably a simple thing, but it could be serious, so just go ahead and do it.
posted by aryma at 6:28 PM on December 20, 2013


Seconding inner ear stuff. Or, could you be pregnant?
posted by stillmoving at 11:47 PM on December 20, 2013


Definitely not pregnant.

I've actually been teaching about blood pressure the last week or so and have got some cuffs in my office, so I'll check myself tomorrow. Maybe sneak one home to test myself at different times of the day.

My father did have some vertigo problems and I think it was probably BPPV by the sounds of it. I do have some antihistamines so I can also give those a try. Going to the doctor here isn't totally simple - I need to take a Chinese speaker with me, so I'll avoid that if at all possible, but if it doesn't get better then I will definitely go.

Thanks!
posted by sarae at 4:11 AM on December 21, 2013


Glad you have plans to go to the doctor. I had similar experience, regularly becoming light headed while seated, went to doctor who ran immediately ran an EKG. Doctor mentioned heart issues can manifest as dizzy spells/lightheaded-ness. Sort of scared me, but was grateful she was being so through.
My doctor's reaction made me realize, lightheaded / dizzy spells can be a myriad of serious things, so always best to get a professional opinion. Lucky for me, after blood work returned, we learned it was severe vitamin deficiencies which is a relatively easy fix (Rx strength vitaminavegamins!).
Not sure which city you are in, but bigger Chinese hospitals have a "VIP" section aka foreigner section, where the staff speak English. Between that and the international hospitals, I never had to worry about the added burden of a translator for the medical jargon while I lived in China. Might be worth looking into if you want to have a regular doctor while living there.
posted by MuckWeh at 7:53 PM on December 21, 2013


Aaand it's gone. I took an antihistamine before bed the other night and now I've had 2 mornings without dizziness. I do have an awful cold now, but so do half of my students. I am starting to suspect something is up with my heart, though, as I think my heart rate is a bit fast, so I will try to check that out. Thanks again.
posted by sarae at 10:11 PM on December 22, 2013


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