Vertigo when lying down


Spinning vertigo is a very common and unspecific symptom that can be traced back to numerous diseases. In most cases the vertigo is harmless, only very rarely are diseases behind it, which make treatment necessary. Spinning vertigo describes, as the name suggests, a symptom in which those affected feel the feeling of rotation with a tendency to fall. Especially when lying down and at night, the symptom can be very unpleasant and prevent those affected from sleeping. Every now and then, the vertigo while lying down is so severe that those affected have to get up and walk around. If the dizziness persists over a longer period of time, there may be illnesses behind it that require a medical evaluation.


The causes of vertigo are numerous. The harmless and uncomplicated causes are much more common than rare and dangerous diseases.

Most people occasionally experience mild dizziness, often due to fluctuations in blood pressure. Low blood pressure can lead to slight oxygen deficiency symptoms in the brain, which can trigger vertigo or even faint. An abnormally high blood pressure can also trigger a form of dizziness.

In addition to fluctuations in blood pressure, there may be anemia or functional disorders of the heart, which can lead to fluctuations in the cardiovascular system and temporary insufficient supplies of the brain. Furthermore, numerous diseases of the metabolism or hormone balance can promote blood pressure fluctuations and vertigo. This also includes taking medication or toxins such as alcohol and coffee, as well as diseases such as diabetes mellitus and arteriosclerosis or pregnancy.

A common muscular cause of vertigo symptoms is the cervical spine syndrome. This is an often chronic pain in the cervical spine that leads to muscular tension, which in turn can cause neurological symptoms such as vertigo when lying down.

Rare causes of vertigo lie in the balance organ. This is located on both sides of the ears and consists of a complex system for maintaining balance. Diseases that can disrupt the organ and cause vertigo are “benign positional vertigo”, inflammation of the equilibrium nerve, “Menière's disease” or “acoustic neuroma”. These are rare causes of vertigo that require treatment.


Alcohol consumption can temporarily cause acute vertigo while lying down. Young people and casual drinkers in particular are affected by this symptom. Alcohol unfolds its effects in many areas of the brain, which, depending on the amount drunk, can lead to severe imbalance. When lying down, the imbalance manifests itself as vertigo, often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Only a reduction in the alcohol level is effective against vertigo. A short walk around, sitting up in bed or placing your feet on the floor can restore your sense of balance for a short time.

Cervical spine syndrome

Cervical spine syndrome is a pain syndrome of the cervical spine that is due to several factors. The underlying reason is often a muscular tension in the muscles of the cervical spine, which can result from poor posture, monotonous activities but also trauma in sport and after exercise. Vertebral body blockages can also occur due to the muscular tension. The cervical spine syndrome can lead to neurological symptoms with headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and fainting.


In most cases, the diagnosis of vertigo is made purely clinically on the basis of the symptoms and accompanying circumstances described. Often there are harmless causes that do not require any further diagnosis. A blood pressure measurement can reveal low blood pressure. A sporadic blood pressure fluctuation that only occurs at certain times may need to be further investigated with a 24-hour blood pressure measurement. To clarify metabolic diseases or diseases of the blood count, a blood test can be added if necessary. More rare diseases can still make more specific diagnostic procedures necessary. Specific tests and radiological imaging can be used in particular to diagnose diseases of the organ of equilibrium.

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accompanying symptoms

Depending on the underlying cause of the vertigo, numerous other symptoms can follow. Dizziness with tiredness, exhaustion, headache, nausea and vomiting is not uncommon. On the other hand, water retention on the legs as well as shortness of breath and blurred vision can rarely occur. All of these are nonspecific symptoms that indicate circulatory problems and diseases of the cardiovascular system. A rare but alarming symptom is fainting. In these cases, a medical clarification should urgently be carried out. Metabolic diseases are less common behind vertigo, which cause other specific symptoms such as tremors, a feeling of thirst, weight fluctuations, frequent urination and numerous other complaints.

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The treatment of vertigo while lying down must be made dependent on the severity of the symptoms and the underlying disease. As a rule, vertigo rarely requires medical treatment. Important general measures to ensure a stable circulation are adequate fluid intake, enough sleep, regular moderate exercise and regular meals. Certain medications and luxury foods should also be reduced if possible if they have a negative effect on vertigo. Fainting spells should never occur during these measures; occasional dizzy spells can occur occasionally even in spite of these measures during heavy activities, fatigue, thirst or hunger.

If more serious diseases of the cardiovascular system are behind it, these must be treated causally under medical supervision. In general, in the case of particularly severe or long-lasting complaints, a doctor should be examined for certain diseases. Occasional physical therapy can also be prescribed by the doctor. They support the circulatory function and can also help with a cervical spine syndrome as the cause of vertigo. In turn, rare diseases of the organ of equilibrium require medical therapies, which can include medicinal or even surgical treatments.


Some specific exercises can improve symptoms of balance and dizziness. These exercises are aimed at improving your sense of balance while maintaining moderate physical activity. First, the head can be slowly rotated while sitting. The eyes should also be directed alternately in different directions. This can acutely provoke dizziness but improve it in the long term.

You can then try to lift one leg for a few minutes while standing. For advanced users, the leg can also be swung back and forth to challenge balance even more. Some can do this exercise after a while with their eyes closed. An exercise to check coordination can also be performed while standing. With your eyes closed and your arms outstretched forwards, your legs should be lifted one after the other so that you walk in place. If this is continued for a short time, it can then be checked whether one is in the same place or has rotated in place. The latter suggests an existing disturbance of balance and coordination.


The duration of vertigo is very variable and depends on its cause. In most cases these are temporary fluctuations in blood pressure that subside after a few minutes. Drinking a glass of water or getting up and walking around can often reduce circulatory problems after a short time. If there are more far-reaching illnesses behind the vertigo, more specific medical therapies may be necessary. In general, if dizziness persists for a long time, as well as significant restrictions in everyday life, a medical clarification should be carried out to diagnose other causes.

Course of disease

The course of the disease varies from person to person and is therefore difficult to predict. Dizziness usually comes on suddenly as an attack. In the acute situation it can be violent and overwhelming, in rare cases it ends in fainting. It can usually be resolved within a few minutes by introducing simple therapeutic measures. For the duration of the dizziness, strenuous activities, standing or walking may have to be avoided if there is a risk of falling or fainting.