Waking up in the middle of the night feeling sick disrupts a good sleep and leaves you drained for the next day. Unlike daytime, being nauseous at night when you lay down is an issue because it interferes with your body’s natural recovery process during sleep. This nighttime discomfort may serve as a symptom of underlying health issues that we have discussed further.

Symptoms of Nighttime Nausea

Some symptoms that show up include:

  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Sweating excessively
  • Stomach aches and unease in the upper abdomen
  • Involuntary stomach contractions to vomit
  • Dry heaves or feeling of excessive vomit, but nothing comes out
  • Headache and high temperature
  • Heartburn or bloating after eating
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to smells

Nausea When Lying Down – Causes

Common Causes Include:

  1. Anxiety
    Anxiety triggers nausea at night when you lay down by activating your body’s stress response, leading to stress hormones like cortisol and corticotropin-releasing factor release. Both these hormones impact neurotransmitters present in the brain, resulting in symptoms such as the following:

    • Increased heart rate
    • Blood pressure
    • Increased respiratory rate

    All this affects the gastrointestinal system and results in nausea. Moreover, anxiety worsens at night because the distractions are much less. This change from day to night allows anxious feelings to intensify, contributing to feelings of nausea.

  2. Pregnancy
    Pregnancy-induced nausea is often known as morning sickness that affects around 74% of pregnant people and may occur at any time of the day. The severity of symptoms is due to the presence of hCG hormone levels and placental mass. More often than not, most symptoms get better during the second trimester; however, a severe level of nauseated feeling that prevents one from taking in food or liquid intake needs immediate medical attention.
  3. GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
    GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) may be one reason why you might be nauseous at night when you lay down. The reason behind it is acid reflux irritating the esophagus. Symptoms such as heartburn and nausea worsens after late-night meals. Moreover, if you take medications, their side effects might be the reason. Some of the medicines include antibiotics, aspirin, NSAIDs, and antidepressants, which causes nighttime nausea if taken before bed.
  4. Gastroparesis
    It is a condition where your stomach does not empties properly due to vagus nerve damage. This in turn results in accumulation of food you eat in the stomach throughout the day, leading to increased nighttime nausea. H. pylori bacteria or certain medications like aspirin are the major contributors to stomach ulcers and worsen symptoms like nausea.

Closing Note

Being nauseous at night might be due to multiple reasons like anxiety, pregnancy, GERD, etc. Therefore, instead of deducing the signs and symptoms on your own, ask for professional help for accurate diagnosis and treatment plans. Although not all causes need emergency help yet it is better not to self-diagnose. If you have more questions, we urge you to contact our expert, Dr. Rajesh Maheshwari, MD, at San Ramon Urgent Care Clinic for help at (925) 361-5959.

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