Why Do I Wake Up Feeling Nauseated?

Medically Reviewed on 1/6/2022

12 causes of nausea in the morning (on waking up)

how to stop feeling nauseous in the morning
Here are 12 causes of waking up feeling nauseated in the morning, which include low blood sugar levels, GERD, constipation, and pregnancy (morning sickness).

The most common causes of waking up in the morning feeling nauseated include:

  1. Low blood sugar levels:
    • When waking up in the morning, there can be nausea or discomfort due to low blood sugar.
    • Drinking sugary beverages, such as fruit juice, in the morning is a simple way to balance blood sugar and relieve nausea.
  2. Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD):
    • GERD or acid reflux is an extremely prevalent cause of nausea in the morning.
    • GERD causes nausea because acid builds up in the stomach and flows to the upper region of the esophagus.
    • Nausea due to GERD can present at any time; however, there is a high risk of nausea while waking up if one sleeps fully flat. This makes it easier for stomach acid to flow up the esophagus.
    • Making lifestyle adjustments such as avoiding acidic meals, not eating for at least two hours before night, and sleeping with your head end elevated can help.
  3. Migraine:
    • Migraine headache is often associated with nausea and vomiting or just nausea.
    • Because of changes in the central nervous system and slowing of digestion, a migraine can often get triggered in the morning.
    • Having breakfast, drinking fluids as soon as possible in the morning, and taking over-the-counter migraine medicines can help.
    • If over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications don't work or if the nausea is severe and there's vomiting involved, prescription drugs for migraines and nausea are available.
  4. Infection and other disorders of the ear:
    • Disorders of the ear such as inner ear diseases can disrupt balance and stomach rhythm and cause nausea while waking up.
    • Ear pain and pressure, as well as abnormalities in hearing, nasal congestion, and fever, are symptoms of an ear infection.
    • Nausea resolves once the ear problem is treated with prescription medication.
  5. Anxiety and stress:
    • A neural reaction is triggered by anxiety and stress, and it affects the stomach lining, which might lead to nausea in the morning.
    • Lifestyle modifications to reduce stress and anxiety can help, for example, exercise, spending time on hobbies, adequate sleep, and counseling if needed.
  6. Constipation:
    • Consumption of low dietary fiber, irritable bowel syndrome, and a sedentary lifestyle are some factors that can affect digestion.
    • The distention in the intestines from extra feces and gas activates stretch receptors in the lining of the digestive tract, which transmits signals to the brainstem and activates the sensation of nausea.
    • The increasing fiber content in the diet, drinking plenty of water, and exercising regularly can help.
    • Laxatives and other treatments may be taken after consulting a doctor.
  7. Medications:
    • Many medications can produce nausea, but some such as pain relievers, cancer medication, certain antibiotics, birth control pills, and antidepressants are more likely to do so, especially in the morning.
    • The doctor can help by changing doses of the medication or switching to a different drug.
  8. Dehydration:
    • When the body is dehydrated, there is an electrolyte imbalance, especially of sodium and potassium, which can cause nausea.
    • Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day to prevent dehydration can help.
  9. Eating certain foods before bedtime:
    • The foods you eat before bed can have a huge effect on how your body feels the next morning.
    • Eating a substantial meal late at night might create intestinal distress, resulting in nausea in the morning. This is especially true in the case of dietary allergies or sensitivities.
    • It is recommended to eat the final meal about three hours before sleeping, as well as avoid eating any difficult-to-digest foods in the evening, fried/fatty foods, dairy products, and spicy foods.
  10. Not eating enough before going to bed:
    • Hunger can be a cause of morning nausea.
    • When the body goes long periods without eating, blood sugar level lowers, which can result in morning nausea.
    • To increase satiety (remaining full), aim for a decent balance of macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat) and eat enough veggies.
    • Veggies are high in fiber that aids in blood sugar regulation.
  11. Reproductive health problems:
    • If you have recently started a new birth control method, it could be the source of your morning nausea.
    • Nausea and vomiting might be an indication of morning sickness, a symptom of early pregnancy. Morning sickness is frequently precipitated by specific scents or spicy foods, but it can occur without a trigger.
  12. Hangover:
    • Excess alcohol consumption on the previous night may result in nausea and vomiting in the morning.

What is nausea?

Nausea is defined as a desire to vomit or an uncomfortable feeling that precedes vomiting. 

Heaviness, tightness, and a persistent feeling of indigestion are examples of such discomfort.

  • Nausea can have various causes that may not always be associated with a serious illness.
  • Motion from a car or plane, taking medications on an empty stomach, eating too much or too little, drinking too much alcohol, or pregnancy is some examples of conditions that may lead to nausea.

What does nausea feel like?

The main sign of nausea is typically feeling sick to your stomach.

Other signs and symptoms of nausea include:

  • Giddiness
  • Sweating
  • Saliva buildup in the mouth
  • Urge to vomit
  • Retching

Is there a distinction between nausea and vomiting?

Nausea frequently precedes the desire to vomit but does not always result in vomiting.

  • The forcible voluntary or involuntary evacuation (throwing up) of stomach contents through the mouth is referred to as vomiting.
  • The stomach and intestines (infection, damage, and food irritation), inner ear (dizziness and motion sickness), and brain are all potential causes of vomiting (head injury, brain infections, tumors, and migraine headaches).

When should you seek assistance for nausea?

You must seek immediate medical attention if you:

Medically Reviewed on 1/6/2022
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