Why Am I Dizzy When I Wake Up? 6 Causes

Why am I dizzy when I wake up? Stellar Sleep presents six potential causes for dizziness, what you can do about them, and how to rest better.

No one likes feeling dizzy, especially not first thing in the morning. If you’re wondering why you feel dizzy when you wake up, Stellar Sleep has six potential causes that may be triggering your symptoms. 

What Causes Dizziness Upon Waking?

Everyone is unique, so there are many potential causes for dizziness upon waking. If you feel dizzy when you first wake up, it’s always best to start by consulting with a medical professional to rule out any underlying health conditions — however, there are plenty of reasons why you might be experiencing dizziness, some of which can be easily remedied. 

Let’s explore a few possible reasons why you might be dizzy when you wake up.

Dehydration

One potential reason for dizziness is dehydration — many of us have a hard time getting enough fluids during the day, even if we don’t realize it. 

In addition to not drinking enough water, caffeine intake can further dehydrate the body. If you’re a coffee lover who tends to drink a few cups of Joe during the day, this could be a potential culprit, too.

Improper hydration makes it much more difficult for the mind and body to function optimally. Dizziness is a common side effect of dehydration, and it might be most apparent when you first wake up due to not drinking water throughout the night while you were asleep.

If you wake up and your mouth feels parched in the morning, it may be a sign you’re experiencing dehydration. 

Blood Pressure Changes

Blood pressure can also play a role in making you feel dizzy when you wake up. For most people, this is most noticeable in cases of low blood pressure, known medically as hypotension

The position you sleep in can also contribute to dizziness when you wake up — if you’re a side sleeper, you may be most at risk for morning dizziness, especially if you’re already dealing with vertigo or if you’re taking certain medications. 

High blood pressure (hypertension) can also cause dizziness, although this is generally less likely. If you’re experiencing dizziness alongside headaches, a change in consciousness, chest pain, or any other sudden symptoms, seek medical attention, as it may be a sign of a medical emergency.

Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar, known as hypoglycemia, can also cause dizziness. Those prone to significant swings in their blood sugar — like diabetics (especially those who are reliant on insulin) — may find that dizziness is one of the first signs that something is wrong with their body. 

However, it isn’t just diabetes that can cause low blood sugar. Certain medications can also contribute to hypoglycemia, especially those designed to help lower blood sugar. 

Fluid in the Inner Ear

Fluid in the inner ear can also lead to dizziness, especially when getting up or changing positions. This can happen for various reasons, including Meniere’s disease or an acute inner ear infection.

So, how does inner ear fluid lead to dizziness?

The inner ear is the balance center, sending signals to the brain that tell you where your body exists in space. With too much fluid, the pressure builds up and can cause dizziness and hearing loss.

Medications

Certain medications can also cause or contribute to dizziness in the morning. Asking your general practitioner about the side effects of new or existing medications can help identify the culprit.

Medications that are more likely to cause dizziness include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Antivirals
  • Diuretics
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Pain relievers (especially opioids)

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing for several seconds throughout the night. When this occurs, the levels of oxygen in your blood and body decline, which may make you feel dizzy. This condition may also cause headaches and daytime sleepiness and can increase your risk of developing chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Sleep apnea needs to be diagnosed and treated by a sleep professional — often by using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine after having a sleep study performed. 

How Can You Stop Feeling Dizzy in the Morning?

So, how can you take the information we’ve discussed about potential causes of dizziness and turn it into a solution? It starts with identifying the cause of your dizziness so that you can address it directly. 

For example, is your dizziness related to dehydration? Make a point of drinking more water during the day. Just make sure you stop at least two hours before bedtime — otherwise, it’s likely to wake you up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break. 

Taking your time getting out of bed in the morning can also help. Sit up slowly, wait a few minutes, then stand up. Changing positions gradually can help make the blood pressure swings less dramatic, reducing the risk of dizziness or falls. 

If you notice that your dizziness persists, speak to your general practitioner for personalized guidance and advice.

The Bottom Line

Although there are a variety of potential causes, it’s crucial to narrow them down so that you can address your dizziness directly. Working with a CBT-I coach can help you create a more supportive sleep routine to improve the quality and quantity of your rest. There’s nothing much better than a good night’s sleep — and we’d love to help you get there. 

Take our free sleep quiz to learn more about your sleep patterns and get started on seeking guidance. 

Sources:

Dehydration | MedlinePlus

What Is Ménière’s Disease? — Diagnosis and Treatment | PMC

The Clinical Spectrum of Dizziness in Sleep Apnea | Otology & Neurotology

Low Blood Pressure – When Blood Pressure Is Too Low | American Heart Association

Vertigo and Sleep: How to Get a Better Night’s Rest with Vertigo | Upper Cervical Seneca

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