Can Lack Of Sleep Cause Nausea
Can Lack Of Sleep Cause Nausea? Sleep deprivation is one of the scariest things you can experience in your life. It’s also one of those things that we all know about but rarely think about until it happens to us. I’ve been there, and I’m still trying to get back up to speed on what exactly happened to me while I was out cold for five days. People suffering from a lack of sleep might feel tremors, headaches, concentration problems, elevated blood pressure, achy muscles, or psychotic episodes. “Exhaustion can absolutely make someone feel nauseous and even lead to vomiting,” says Dr. Michael Breus, M.D., a board-certified neurologist with offices in New York City, Florida and California.
“When you’re exhausted, your body releases stress hormones like cortisol, which stimulates stomach acid production,” explains Dr. Breus. More than 90 percent of people who suffer from chronic insomnia have heartburn, indigestion, gas, nausea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic. These are some of the same symptoms experienced by those whose bodies produce too much acid as a result of not enough gastric juices.
Lack of sleep can also affect our moods. A study published in Applied Psychology Letters shows that participants reported feeling more depressed after three nights without sleep compared to two nights of sleep deprivation. Another study showed that subjects who were deprived of sleep felt less happy and more irritable than when they had slept well. The effects of sleep deprivation on memory aren’t clear, though studies show that sleep loss impairs short-term memory. In fact, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study found that most adults don’t remember anything at all from their dreams upon waking.
There are many reasons why we need sleep. Our brain produces hormones called endorphins during deep sleep that help regulate pain, anxiety, appetite, metabolism, immune system activity, etc. When you’re tired, your body releases adrenaline, which helps prepare you for action. Without this release, you’d be prone to panic attacks and depression. Also, if you didn’t go into REM sleep, your body wouldn’t be able to consolidate new memories, so you’d lose your ability to recall long-term information. And finally, your body needs sleep to repair itself and maintain its health. If you deprive yourself of sleep, you’ll only hurt yourself further.
So how does lack sleep cause nausea? Read on to find out.
Causes of Lack of Sleep
The first thing to keep in mind when you begin experiencing nausea as a side effect of sleep deprivation is that it doesn’t mean something is wrong with you — especially if you haven’t noticed any other physical complaints.
“If you’re having trouble sleeping, then you should see your doctor immediately and discuss these issues,” says Dr. Breus. He notes that the main causes of sleep deprivation include mental illness, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, alcohol use, drug use, poor diet, excessive caffeine consumption, overworking, shift work, jet lag, etc. Other factors could include environmental conditions, such as noise levels, temperature, humidity, light, and certain medications (especially sedatives).
Another common reason for sleeplessness is allergies, particularly seasonal ones. “Many patients come to my practice complaining of nasal congestion and runny nose during allergy season,” says Dr. Breus. “They often wake up several times throughout the night because of stuffy noses.” This condition can interfere with normal breathing patterns, resulting in exhaustion.
Even though these are very real possibilities, there are plenty of other reasons why you may become sleepless. Some of them involve medical ailments, while others are purely psychological. Here are just a few examples:
Stress – Whether caused by financial worries, relationship troubles, job difficulties, etc., stress can certainly contribute to sleeplessness.
Nightmares – Nightmares are extremely traumatic events that can occur when we’re asleep, causing us to wake up suddenly. They can be triggered by traumatic experiences, scary movies, thoughts, etc.
Bereavement – Loss of a loved one can trigger grief and sadness, leading to feelings of guilt, anger, helplessness, hopelessness, and despair.
Depression – Depression is a serious problem that millions of Americans suffer from every year. It can lead to severe fatigue, inability to concentrate, restlessness, loss of interest in activities, weight gain, insomnia, etc.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is an ongoing state of worry, fear, tension, and/or nervousness about everyday routines, problems, tasks, etc.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – OCD is characterized by repetitive behaviors (e.g., hand washing) performed out of habit.
Some medications – Certain drugs that are used to treat various illnesses can actually induce sleeplessness. For example, antidepressants (SSRIs), beta-blockers, antihistamines, anticonvulsants, muscle relaxers, antipsychotics, etc.
Here are some tips to try if you’re struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep:
1.) Cut out excess caffeine intake – Caffeine affects receptors in the central nervous system (CNS), making it harder for you to fall asleep. So avoid coffee, soda, chocolate, energy drinks, black tea, colas, etc.
2.) Go easy on cigarettes and alcohol – Smoking and drinking can both prevent you from falling asleep. Try quitting smoking and cutting down on alcoholic beverages.
3.) Exercise regularly – Exercising relieves fatigue, lowers stress levels, improves circulation, increases endorphin production, and regulates sleep cycles.
4.) Get adequate sunlight exposure – Your circadian rhythms will tell you when to sleep, and when to wake up. That means you shouldn’t set your alarm clock for later than 10 AM unless you want to wake up early the next morning. You should aim to spend no more than 5 hours per day in artificial light.
5.) Watch TV in bed – Watching TV before bedtime can mess with your physiology and disrupt your natural sleep cycle. Turn off the lights and read instead.
6.) Don’t nap too late – Taking naps between 2 PM and 4 PM can delay your transition from awake mode to sleep mode.
7.) Keep regular sleep schedules – Make sure you follow a consistent schedule each day. Going to bed and waking up at different times each day can throw off your biological clocks (“circadian rhythms”).
8.) Eat a healthy breakfast – Eating something around 9 AM can encourage good sleep habits. Avoid sugary foods, heavy meals, spicy food, fatty foods, etc.
9.) Do relaxation exercises – Yoga, stretching, meditation, reading, listening to music, taking a warm shower, etc.
10.) Have a soothing cup of chamomile tea – Chamomile has calming properties that promote relaxation.
11.) Take melatonin supplements – Melatonin promotes sleepiness and induces deeper dream states.
12.) Create a quiet environment – Noise pollution can interrupt your sleep cycle. Turn off cell phones, TVs, computers, radios, etc.
13.) Use aromatherapy oils – Lavender oil can help calm your senses and ease anxiety. Eucalyptus oil can relieve headaches and sinusitis. Peppermint oil can stimulate digestion and improve overall wellbeing. Clary sage oil is known for its therapeutic properties.
14.) Wear comfortable pajamas – Wearing loose-fitting clothes can improve airflow and keep you cooler. Loose cotton materials are best.
15.) Be mindful of light exposure – Exposure to bright light right before going to bed can suppress the secretion of melatonin. Avoid using electronic devices within 3 hours prior to sleeping.
16.) Relax with soothing music – Music therapy can be beneficial for relaxing and helping you fall asleep faster. Choose soft instrumental sounds, classical, jazz, piano, harp, flute, violin, wind instruments, etc.
17.) Treat yourself to a nice massage – Massages can help reduce stress and increase the flow of oxygenated blood through your skin and tissues.
18.) Get enough exercise – Regular exercise can decrease stress levels and boost your immune system.
19.) Practice mindfulness – Meditation can improve focus. Deep breathing exercises can enhance relaxation. Mindfulness training can teach you to observe your thoughts objectively.
20.) Reduce nicotine intake – Nicotine constricts small arteries, increasing blood pressure and heart rate. It can also increase sympathetic nerve activity and lower parasympathetic tone.
21.) Drink water – Drinking 8 glasses of water per day can be helpful in reducing dehydration, which can disturb sleep quality. Water can help dilate peripheral vessels, improving blood circulation.
22.) Limit caffeinated beverages, alcohol, and refined sugars – All of these substances can negatively impact alertness and productivity.
23.) Learn better time management skills – Managing your time effectively can reduce stress and allow you to function better during peak periods and stressful situations.
24.) Take a hot bath – Hot baths can help you unwind and relax. But don’t take them too close to bedtime.
25.) Manage your emotions – Negative emotions, including anxiety, fear, frustration, resentment, etc., can sabotage your attempts to sleep peacefully.