Why Am I Dizzy When I Wake Up? Experts Weigh In


Mornings can be tough. Whether you snoozed your first three alarms, you’re wrestling with a hangover, or you just don’t want to leave the cozy comfort of your bed, the last thing you need is to feel unbalanced or lightheaded when your feet finally hit the floor. So why do you sometimes feel dizzy when you wake up?

That lightheaded or off-balance feeling that you get in the morning can happen for a variety of reasons (more on that below). But that feeling of disorientation in the morning doesn’t have to last long – in fact, it shouldn’t. If you feel a little unsteady when you first get out of bed, you’re likely experiencing a dizzy spell. Andrea Paul, MD, medical advisor to Illuminate Labs, describes this sensation as a temporary impairment of orientation. Fortunately, it typically doesn’t take long for a person to regain their sense of balance.

But if you’re experiencing long-lasting or frequent dizzy spells when you wake up, it’s important to figure out what might be causing them. Ahead, some of the most common reasons for why you might be waking up dizzy, how to get rid of dizziness after waking up, and when to see a doctor about dizziness in the morning.

Why Am I Dizzy When I Wake Up? You’re Dehydrated.

The most common cause of dizziness, particularly in the mornings, is dehydration, explains Daniel Boyer, MD, of the Farr Institute. “A lack of enough fluids in your body may suppress the proper functioning of your brain and lead to lightheadedness immediately after getting out of bed in the morning.” Dehydration can occur as a result of late-night alcohol consumption (remember that hangover we were talking about?), as well as underlying conditions like high blood sugar. “Dehydration can also occur if you operate in hot conditions, perspire, or don’t drink plenty of water throughout the day,” nutritionist Shauna Hatcher, MSPH, tells POPSUGAR. If you didn’t hit happy hour the night before and you feel confident you’re drinking enough water during the day, there may be something else causing you to feel dizzy in the mornings.

Why Am I Dizzy When I Wake Up? You Have Sleep Apnea.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes irregular breathing during the night, which can lead to you feeling dizzy in the morning, Dr. Boyer explains. Other common symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, and morning headaches. If you think you have sleep apnea, bring it up with your healthcare provider or a sleep specialist who can help assess your symptoms and recommend the best treatment plan.

Why Am I Dizzy When I Wake Up? Your Blood Sugar Is Low.

Morning dizziness can also be caused by low blood sugar levels, also known as hypoglycemia, Dr. Boyer says. While blood sugar levels are most commonly seen in people with diabetes, anyone can experience hypoglycemia, especially if they’ve gone a long time without eating (i.e. before breakfast). Still, if you’re concerned, it’s worth discussing with your doctor.

Why Am I Dizzy When I Wake Up? Your Blood Pressure Is Low.

Low blood pressure, or a rapid change in blood pressure, is another common cause of morning dizziness. “Standing quickly often causes a temporary drop in blood pressure that increases risk of fainting,” Dr. Paul tells POPSUGAR. She recommends climbing out of bed slowly – gradually moving from laying down, to sitting, then standing – to prevent a sudden drop in blood pressure. However, if this happens frequently, it could be a sign of a more significant issue with your blood pressure – something to bring up with you doctor.

Why Am I Dizzy When I Wake Up? You’re Taking a New Medication.

Dr. Boyer adds that certain medications, such as antidepressants, anti-inflammatory drugs, anesthetics, and contraceptives, can cause dizziness as a side effect. Anytime you start a new medication, be sure to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about what to expect – and check in with your doctor if the side effects get to be too much.

How to Get Rid of Dizziness After Waking Up

Let’s face it, feeling dizzy is no way to start the day. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to find relief. All three experts recommend staying hydrated – that means drinking water even when you aren’t thirsty, Dr. Boyer says – and limiting alcohol and caffeine. Caffeine can restrict blood flow and cause you to feel more lightheaded, Dr. Hatcher explains, though your own tolerance for coffee may vary. “One person may feel an impact from a single cup, while another might drink an equivalent to six or eight cups without experiencing any significant effects,” Dr. Hatcher says.

Dr. Paul also recommends finding ways to reduce stress, as anxiety can sometimes manifest in physical symptoms like dizziness. “The brain produces chemicals that impact the cardiovascular system during stress. These hormones induce dizziness by constricting blood vessels,” Dr. Paul says. If you’ve taken these steps and you’re still feeling woozy in the morning, it’s important to consult your doctor, who can help you rule out a more serious underlying condition.

– Additional reporting by Alexis Jones

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