How to Keep Vertigo From Ruining Your Sleep

Vertigo can disrupt sleep due to its symptoms, including dizziness and nausea. It can stem from various medical conditions and worsen sleep quality. Coping strategies include at-home Epley maneuvers, elevating the head while sleeping, and relaxation exercises. Supine position with an elevated head is recommended for better sleep with vertigo.

As you may already know, sleep is essential for your health and well-being. Yet certain medical conditions can prevent good quality sleep.

Vertigo is one of many medical issues that can cause poor sleep. Although living with vertigo can pose several challenges during bedtime, there are methods you can adopt to encourage sound sleep.

If you’re seeking better sleep, here’s how to sleep with positional vertigo and other types of vertigo.

What is vertigo?

“Vertigo is a sense of movement or rotation related to the pathology of the inner ear (otological causes) or the brain (central causes),” says Chris Winter, MD, a neurologist, sleep specialist, and host of the Sleep Unplugged podcast.

There are two main types of vertigo: peripheral and central.

Peripheral vertigo is more common, with about 80% of people being diagnosed with the condition. Peripheral vertigo arises from a problem with the inner ear.

Central vertigo comes from a medical condition impacting the area of the brain that controls your balance and spatial awareness.

Symptoms of vertigo can include the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Feelings of off-balance
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hearing loss
  • Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
  • Motion sickness
  • Headaches
  • A feeling of fullness in your ear
  • Nystagmus (when your eyes move side-to-side rapidly and uncontrollably)

Vertigo can arise for several medical-related reasons, including:

  • Vestibular migraines
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Certain medications, such as anticonvulsants
  • Mental health disorders, such as mood changes, anxiety, and somatization (when psychological or emotional factors present as physical symptoms)

The relationship between vertigo and sleep

According to Winter, the connection between vertigo and sleep is a bit unclear. However, Winter mentions three potential reasons why people with vertigo experience poor sleep.

These include the following:

How to sleep with vertigo

Although having vertigo poses some challenges when it comes to getting a good night’s rest, there are ways you can cope and encourage sound sleep.

Below are some tips on how to sleep with BPPV vertigo:

Do at-home Epley maneuvers

The at-home Epley maneuver is an exercise that can help you manage vertigo symptoms. It’s a set of movements to remove calcium carbonate crystals (canaliths) from your inner ear’s semicircular canal.

After doing the home Epley movement, your symptoms should subside, making sleeping easier.

Elevate your head

“Elevating the head of the bed can be helpful for some,” Winter says. Research reveals that the heads-up position (HUS) is a possible treatment method for people with intractable idiopathic BPPV.

Use an elevated pillow or stack pillows to elevate your head at night.

Practice relaxation exercises

A holistic approach to encouraging better sleep with vertigo is through relaxation exercises. These exercises help calm your nervous system and reduce the intensity of vertigo.

Some examples of relaxation techniques for vertigo include controlled breathing, mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, tai chi, and qigong.


What is the best sleeping position for vertigo?

According to Winter, the best sleep position for vertigo is supine (on your back) with your head elevated. “For individuals with BPPV, sleeping with the ‘good’ ear down/below the affected ear can be helpful,” he says.

How do you get rid of vertigo at night?

Winter says outside of taking medications and doing at-home Epley maneuvers, vertigo can be challenging to eliminate at night.

However, a few ways you can encourage sound sleep with this condition are:

  • Lying still at night in a dark, quiet room
  • Sleeping with your head slightly elevated with two or more pillows
  • Doing your best to relax as anxiety can worsen vertigo

How do you calm down vertigo fast?

If you’re seeking immediate relief, you can try the previously mentioned at-home Epley maneuver. This technique can help resolve dizziness from BPPV more quickly rather than waiting for an episode to pass.

Is bed rest good for vertigo?

If you keep your head in the same position for extended periods during bed rest, you may experience a BPPV attack.

Prolonged bed rest may cause calcium particles to shift in your inner ear, leading to BPPV. This is why it’s important to elevate your head while in bed and stay in a fixed position.

Next, learn what’s a normal sleeping heart rate and how to manage yours.

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