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Mornings are 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 in the morning? POPSUGAR spoke with experts to find out what causes that uncomfortable, disorienting feeling.
Why Am I Dizzy When I Wake Up?
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 dizzy spells frequently, it’s important to figure out what might be causing them.
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 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.
Other Causes of Morning Dizziness
Dizzy spells can at times be a symptom of an underlying condition. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you continue to experience episodes of morning dizziness, as they may be linked to one of the following.
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.
Low Blood Sugar
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.
Low Blood Pressure
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.
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 Prevent Morning Dizziness
Let’s face it: feeling dizzy is no way to start the day. Fortunately, there are steps you can take that might make these spells less frequent. 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 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.