Can lack of sleep cause nausea? Mystery solved

Lack of sleep has become one of the major problem in the mordern society. It can also be damaging for our physical health along with its effects of making us feel tired. The question is being arisen nowadays that “can lack of sleep cause nausea”. There is not much evidence linking to the answer to this but I will try and answer this question further in this article. I will discuss the potential reasons for the phenomenon of “lack of sleep cause nausea” and provide helpful strategies to alleviate both sleep deprivation and the accompanying nausea.

What is nausea?

Nausea is an unpleasant sensation in the stomach that usually occurs before vomiting. Different factors can cause nausea. These factors includes motion sickness, pregnancy, different medicines or underlying health conditions.

Can lack of sleep cause nausea?

Lack of sleep cause nausea

Lack of sleep cause nausea and is said to be a root cause of variety of health problems. The reasons for it are:

Body’s internal clock:

Our body works on a natural cycle of 24 hours which is called circadian rhythm. This internal clock is responsible for the regulation of different processes occurring in the body including sleep-wake cycle, hormone production and metabolism. When we continue to take inadequate sleep everyday, it results in the disruption of the balance and results in our body not being able to function properly.

Stress and nausea:

Sleep deprivation causes triggering of stress response in our body and thus triggers the release of stress hormones like cortisol. This high level of cortisol can exert a negative response on digestion and leads to the feeling of nausea in the body. Also, inadequate sleep also results in the compromisation of immune system of the body and thus makes our digestive system more susceptible to GI issues and nausea.

Disrupted brain function:

The brain is the most crucial part of the body and helps in regulating our overall health. Insufficient sleep can impair cognitive function, which affects areas of coordination, balance, as well as processing sensory information. These interruptions can trigger feelings of unbalance as well as dizziness and nausea.

Impact on hormonal balance:

Sleep deprivation can disrupt the balance of hormones in our bodies. When we don’t sleep enough, The Ghrelin hormone increases, which is responsible for regulating appetite. It can lead to an upset nausea and stomach upset. On the other hand,  the hormone that signals feelings of fullness known as leptin, decreases and therefore can result in overeating further contributing to digestive disturbances.

Immune system suppression:

In order to strengthen the immune system, sleep is a very essential component. And when we don’t get enough rest, our immune system gets weak and then different diseases can attack our body. When the body tries to expel toxins and restore balance, it can result in nausea.


If you’re not having enough sleep the body produces more pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are the substances that trigger inflammation throughout the body’s organs and tissues. Inflammation can affect your digestive system and cause nausea by damaging the mucosal lining of the stomach or intestines or by activating the immune cells in the gut.

How lack of sleep cause nausea through other conditions?

Lack of sleep cause nausea itself but it can also worsen other conditions that can cause nausea. These conditions includes:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): GERD is a condition in which stomach acid returns to the esophagus, causing chest pain, heartburn and nausea. Lack of sleep can worsen GERD by increasing stomach acid production, relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter (the muscle that prevents acid reflux), or changing the position of the stomach during sleep.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): IBS is a condition where the bowel movements become irregular, causing abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation. Nausea is also a common symptom of IBS. Lack of sleep can worsen IBS by increasing stress hormones, decreasing serotonin levels, disrupting circadian rhythms, or increasing inflammation in the gut.
  • Migraine: Migraine is a type of headache that causes severe pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea. Lack of sleep can worsen migraine by triggering or prolonging migraine attacks, decreasing pain threshold, or reducing the effectiveness of migraine medications.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnancy is a condition where a woman carries a developing fetus in her womb. Nausea is a common symptom of pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. Lack of sleep can worsen pregnancy-related nausea by increasing stress hormones, decreasing serotonin levels, disrupting circadian rhythms, or increasing inflammation in the body.

Lack of sleep cause nausea and factors contributing to it:

Lack of sleep can cause nausea and there are alot of factors that can exacerbate the symptoms. These factors are:

  1. Poor sleep quality: Sleep plays an important factor, not only how long you sleep matters but the quality of your sleep matters aswell. If you experience disrupted sleep more often, then your chances of getting nausea also increase.
  2. Sleep disorders: Sleep disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea can disturb the sleep schedule which can ultimately lead to nausea. It’s essential to identify and address any underlying sleep disorders to alleviate this symptom.
  3. Anxiety and stress:Anxiety and stress can cause severe damage to the sleep pattern and other health aspects. If you frequently find yourself waking up during the middle of the night due to stress, it can intensify sleep deprivation and and nausea occurring from it.
  4. Medications: Medicines used for the treatment of psychiatric disorder or migraine can have nausea as their side effect. If you are taking such medicines and it is resulting in sleep disturbance or nausea then its better to consult with healthcare provider and change these medicines to sleep better.
  5. Dehydration: Inadequate hydration can contribute to feelings of nausea and sleep deprivation can further exacerbate this issue. It’s crucial to drink enough water throughout the day and especially during evening so that you don’t wake up from thirst during the night and disrupt your sleep leading to nausea.
  6. Dietary habits: Eating unhealthy or greasy meal late at night can disrupt digestion and make it difficult to digest. It can lead to nausea especially when combined with lack of sleep.

Tips for relieving nausea caused by lack of sleep:

The best method to avoid and treat nausea that is caused by insufficient sleep is to enhance the quality of your sleep and its quantity. Here are some tips on how to do that:

1.Follow a regular sleep schedule:

Try going to bed and rise around the same hour each day, including holidays and weekdays. This can help your body adjust to a consistent sleep rhythm and improve your sleep quality.

2.Avoid the consumption of alcohol, caffeine nicotine, or large meals prior to bedtime:

These substances can disrupt the quality of your sleep by stimulating your nervous system, causing disruption to your circadian rhythms or even causing acid reflux. Be sure to avoid them at least 3-4 hours prior to going to bed.

3. Limit the use of electronic devices before bed or in the bedroom:

Electronic devices, such as laptops, tablets, smartphones and TVs emit blue light as these can inhibit Melatonin production which is a hormone that regulates your sleep/wake cycle. They can also stimulate your brain and keep you awake or distracted. Avoid using them at least 1 hour before bedtime or in the bedroom. You can also use blue light blocking glasses or apps to reduce the exposure to blue light.

4. Use stress reduction techniques:

Managing stress levels is crucial for both quality sleep and digestive health. Incorporate techniques for stress reduction into your every day routine, like yoga, mindfulness meditation or participating in activities that you love. These exercises can improve overall health and can help reduce levels of cortisol as well as anxiety.

5. Create a comfortable and conducive sleep environment: Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, cool, and comfortable. You can make use of curtains or blinds, earplugs or blinds humidifiers, or fans to make the environment more comfortable to sleep. You can also use aromatherapy, such as lavender, sandalwood, or jasmine, to create a relaxing atmosphere. There are sheets, mattresses, pillows or blankets that fit your preferences and requirements that you can also use.

6. Engage in relaxing activities before bed:

Doing some relaxing activities before bed can help you unwind and prepare for sleep. These can include reading, listening to music, meditating, breathing exercises, yoga, or stretching. Avoid doing any stressful or stimulating activities before bed, such as working, studying, arguing, or playing video games.

7. Seek medical help if you have a sleep disorder:

If you have a sleep disorder that affects your sleep quality or quantity, such as insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, or parasomnias, you should consult your doctor or a sleep specialist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

It is possible that you will require an examination called a polysomnography (a test that measures your eye movements, brain waves and muscle activity heart rate, breathing patterns during the night) and other diagnostic tests in order to establish the root and extent the severity of sleep disorders. It is also possible to utilize medications or devices (such like a Continuous Positive  Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine to treat sleep apnea) to help treat the sleep disorders.

Natural remedies to treat lack of sleep caused nausea:

In addition to improving your sleep, you can also try some natural remedies that can help relieve nausea caused by lack of sleep. These include:

  • Ginger: Ginger is a spice that stimulates the production of saliva and digestive enzymes and thus has anti-nausea effects. You can consume ginger in various forms, such as tea, capsules, candies, or cookies.
  • Peppermint: Peppermint is an herb that has anti-nausea effects by relaxing the stomach muscles and reducing spasms. Peppermint can be consumed in many forms, including gum, tea, oil or even lozenges.
  • Lemon: Lemon is a citrus fruit that has anti-nausea effects by stimulating the production of saliva and bile. You can consume lemon in various forms, such as juice, water, or slices.
  • Crackers: Crackers are dry and bland foods that can help settle the stomach and absorb excess acid. You can eat crackers in small amounts throughout the day or before bedtime.
  • Water: Water is a vital component of the body that helps flush out toxins and maintain hydration. Dehydration can cause nausea by reducing blood volume and pressure. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and especially when you feel nauseous.


1. Can lack of sleep cause nausea?

Lack of sleep cause nausea through different ways such as triggering stress, disrupting hormonal balance, suppressing immune system and causing inflammation in the body.

2. How many hours of sleep are required to prevent nausea?

The recommended amount of sleep varies from person to person and depends on age and individual needs. However, an average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep per day.

3. Can taking anti-nausea medication help with sleep deprivation-induced nausea?

Anti-nausea medication can provide symptomatic treatment to nausea but the root cause needs to be treated first which is lack of sleep.

4. Are there any natural remedies to alleviate sleep deprivation-induced nausea?

Yes, several natural remedies i-e consistent sleep schedule, practicing relaxation techniques, staying hydrated and avoiding heavy meals before bedtime can help alleviate nausea caused by sleep deprivation.

5. Is it possible to experience nausea from oversleeping?

Some individuals can experience nausea after oversleeping. This can be due to disruptions in the body’s internal clock and hormonal imbalances.


In conclusion, lack of sleep and nausea are both unpleasant and harmful conditions that can affect your quality of life and  the answer to the question “Can lack of sleep cause nausea?” is  yes. The connection between sleep deprivation, and our body’s different systems can cause feeling of nausea and discomfort. By understanding the mechanisms behind this connection and addressing contributing factors, we can alleviate both sleep deprivation and the accompanying nausea. So, let’s embrace the power of quality sleep by following the tips and recommendations in this article and bid farewell to sleepless nights and nausea.

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12 Responses

  1. The only two persons I know that have quality sleep don’t use modern technologies that much and don’t watch TV much as well.

  2. Thank you for writing about this. I didn’t know that nausea can be caused by lack of sleep. My daughter suffers from many sleepless nights and she is has nausea as well. This article makes me want to look into this more.

  3. This is such an informative post! I just found out that lack of sleep could cause chronic nausea in your article. Thanks for sharing this helpful information.

  4. This wouldn’t be fun. I am glad I don’t suffer from this. Some days I don’t sleep well but I just feel tired, no nausea.

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