Almost everyone has experienced dizziness while lying down or dizziness in general at least once. It feels like riding a carousel or like the ground is shaking. You lose your sense of balance and feel disoriented.
Dizziness is not a disease, but mostly a symptom that is caused by several underlying diseases. Most of the time, when trying to get rid of the dizziness, you lie down or sit straight down. When lying down, however, the dizziness can either get worse or get better. In this article you will find out what causes dizziness when lying down, what you can do about it and much more important information.
the essentials in brief
- Dizziness is a symptom and not a disease. It can be traced back to various underlying diseases.
- Lying in a lying position can make dizziness worse, but it can also improve it. The symptoms usually go away when the body is kept still.
- Nevertheless, dizziness can also occur when lying down and cause nausea, vomiting or even anxiety disorders.
Background: What you should know about dizziness while lying down
According to the International Society for Biological Medicine eV, 30 million Germans suffer from occasional balance disorders. While every fourth person over the age of 60 struggles with dizziness, the figure is less than 10% in young adulthood.
Dizziness accounts for an estimated 5 percent of doctor visits. (1) What causes this common symptom and how to counteract it, we have answered below a few caused dizziness while lying down?
What causes dizziness while lying down?
Stress, lack of sleep and a poor diet can all lead to dizziness when lying down. The smallest changes, such as better nutrition or better sleep, can make a big difference. Of course, alcohol can also lead to dizziness and thus nausea and vomiting.
But it can also be a symptom of serious illnesses, such as a stroke, a tumor or meningitis. Mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety disorders can also cause dizziness. In the case of dizziness due to circulatory problems, however, lying down should make the dizziness go away. (2)
What are the symptoms of dizziness when lying down?
The symptoms always vary, but we have listed the most typical symptoms here:
- Brief attacks of rotary vertigo
- visual impairment
- Problems coordinating body movements
In the case of dizziness, however, you do not have to expect the consequences mentioned directly, they only usually occur with the dizziness. (3)
How long does dizziness last when lying down?
The length of the vertigo varies. Sometimes the dizziness goes away, but suddenly reappears a short time later. For others, the dizziness lasts for hours. A distinction is made between different types of dizziness.
Short-term dizziness that lasts a few seconds to a few minutes is called acute vertigo attacks. If the dizziness lasts from minutes to hours, it is called epidemic dizziness. Persistent dizziness means that you feel dizzy for days to weeks. If the dizziness lasts for months, it is called chronic dizziness.(4)
What does it mean when dizziness stops due to lying down?
If the dizziness gets better or even disappears while lying down, the cause is usually related to the circulatory system. For example, if you sit for a long time or have not moved your legs for a long period of time, the blood pools in your legs and is then no longer available to the brain.
Due to prolonged desk work and inactivity, low blood pressure can quickly lead to dizziness. (Image source: geralt/Unsplash)
But if you lie down and put your legs up, the blood flows naturally from the legs into the heart and thus the brain is sufficiently supplied with blood or the lack of blood is automatically remedied. (2)
What to do if you have dizziness while lying down?
Before the dizziness can be treated properly, the cause must be found. The cause should always be clarified by a doctor. Since the cause extends to different departments, the cooperation of several departments such as ear, nose and throat medicine or neurology must be expected.
In the immediate moment you can sit down and put your feet up to ease the pain a bit. Drinking cold water helps to stabilize blood pressure and get the circulation going. Eat enough, like a piece of chocolate, to avoid hypoglycaemia. (3.5)
What exercises can I do to relieve dizziness while lying down?
Individual exercises can counteract dizziness when lying down:
- Move Eyes: Keep your head still, but still move your eyes left, right, up, and so on.
- Fix point: Another option would be to turn your head left and right while stretching your arm. Then slowly move your index finger towards your nose and fix your eyes on the finger.
- Moving Objects: Pick up an everyday object, put it on the ground, then pick it up and put it on her lap. Then put it back on a different spot on the ground and repeat the process.
- Stand up: Stand up from sitting to standing several times, alternating between your eyes open and your eyes closed.
With the exercises mentioned, you avoid jerky movements. The exercises are simple and can be done anywhere, every day. (6.7)
Dizziness lying down: different groups and reasons
There are various causes that can affect dizziness, such as alcohol consumption or cervical spine syndrome. We will now explain to you different groups, specialties and reasons associated with dizziness when lying down.
Dizziness while lying down during pregnancy
Dizziness when lying down during pregnancy can be related to the circulatory system and the changed hormone situation. Therefore, when blood flow is pushed toward the heart, the heart can only pump a little blood to the organs and brain, resulting in dizziness.
If you get dizzy while lying down, it always helps to sit down and raise your legs.
If you get dizzy when lying down as a pregnant woman, it is usually because the child is being pressed onto the large vena cava. If you have constant low blood pressure, you should definitely seek the advice of a doctor or midwife. (9.8)
Dizziness lying down with eyes closed
If dizziness occurs with closed eyes, then it is probably due to the central nervous system. This simply means that the brain is disturbed in its functioning. The dizziness can be attributed to medication or toxic substances such as alcohol. Dehydration can also cause it.
Visual defects and incorrectly adjusted glasses can cause dizziness, causing the surroundings to appear blurry. (Image Source: Scott Umstatt / Unsplash)
If you experience symptoms such as headaches, nausea, blurred or double vision, or a feeling of tightness in your eyes, an eye problem may be to blame. Dizziness and visual disturbances that affect the eye can also be triggered by incorrectly adjusted glasses. (2.6)
Dizziness lying down in children
According to a new brochure from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, around 15% of children in Germany under the age of 18 experience dizzy spells at least once a year. Epidemiological data confirm that migraine-associated syndromes are the most common cause of dizziness in children. However, the causes are usually harmless and treatment is rarely required. (9)
As the vestibular nerve grows at a young age due to rapidly growing blood vessels, dizziness can quickly occur. Rare causes are tumors or brain diseases. Sitting up straight and raising your legs also helps with children.(10)
Dizziness lying down when drinking alcohol
Dizziness is a typical symptom of excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol can cause an unequal exchange of information between the ear and eye after lying down, especially if you then close your eyes. In the case of dizziness caused by alcohol consumption, a distinction is made between dizziness caused by alcohol consumption that is currently taking place and dizziness as a long-term consequence of chronic alcohol consumption.
|type of dizziness||Caused||typical symptoms in addition to dizziness|
|current alcohol consumption||The alcohol gets into the inner ear, changes the weight ratio and thus causes dizziness||swaying, damage to the cerebellum|
|chronic alcohol consumption||permanent damage occurs in the area of the nerve tracts of the brain||Decrease in various brain structures, insecurity when walking and standing|
Symptoms such as vitamin deficiency , nausea, tachycardia, tremors or circulatory problems can also occur. Drinking water and avoiding sugar will help.(11,12)
Dizziness lying down due to cervical spine
40% of all cases of dizziness are caused by disturbances in the cervical spine. Tension is caused by overexertion and poor posture. In addition to dizziness, ringing in the ears or tinnitus are also symptoms of tension.
Dizziness occurs when the muscles in the cervical spine become so tense that they press on the nerves. Irritated information enters the brain and causes dizziness. The disorders can be combated with heat and physiotherapy. (13)
In conclusion, it can be said that the symptom of dizziness is usually only a temporary complaint and is often associated with nausea and vomiting. Dizziness is definitely not a disease.
Those affected are usually helped by lying on their backs, as this allows enough blood to flow to the brain again. Drinking cold water is also recommended. If the symptoms occur frequently, you can do active exercises against dizziness.
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