What are the causes of dizziness when lying down?

Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Dizziness is generally relieved, not exacerbated, by lying down. However, if you have a condition called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, you are going to battle dizziness while lying in bed.


BPPV strikes older people more often than younger individuals. This condition is considered self-limiting because it generally goes away within approximately two months of its onset. It is not a life-threatening condition, although it can certainly be bothersome.


BPPV is believed to be caused by debris that has accumulated in the inner part of the ear. The debris, which is calcium deposits, is referred to as ear rocks. The formal name for this debris is otoconia. The rocks consist of calcium carbonate crystals that come from the utricle, which is a structure in the ear. If the utricle has been damaged or infected or has deteriorated due to advancing age, this can result in ear rocks. Positional or postural dizziness this can be the result of circulatory changes in your body as well as the presence of ear rocks.


The main way to diagnose BPPV is if dizziness occurs when lying down or when rolling over, according to Dizziness-and-balance.com. Usually dizziness gets worse when standing, which is not the case with BPPV.

The symptoms of BPPV will vary among individuals but most everyone who has this condition reports that a change in the position of the head while lying in bed prompts dizziness. Rolling over or getting out of bed also creates dizziness. Tipping your head back may can cause unsteadiness as well as dizziness. This is referred to as “top shelf vertigo.”


Dizziness while lying down can also be the result of a problem with the inner ear, according to Houseearclinic.com. When your head moves, the fluid in the vestibular labyrinth in your ear moves and this stimulates nerve endings, which sends impulses along the balance nerve to the brain. Nerve impulses can also be activated by another mechanism in the inner ear that is called the semicircular canal. Activation occurs when you change positions, such as lying down, rolling over or getting out of bed. When the inner ear isn’t working correctly, the brain receives imbalanced messages and sends a message to the eyes, which prompts the eyes to move back and forth, and this causes your surroundings to spin. When your eyes do this it is called nystagmus.


If you are experiencing dizziness while lying down or “bed spins,” as the condition is sometimes referred to, use more pillows and prop yourself up. This should help eliminate your dizziness. Sometimes motion sickness medications relieve the nausea that is associated with this condition. Ask your doctor for his recommendation.


There is a treatment called the Epley Maneuver, which is used to help improve the balance of those suffering from positional dizziness. Vestibular exercises can also help. These exercises help you loosen your neck and shoulder muscles, train the eyes to move independently of the head and include practicing the head movements that have been resulting in dizziness. You can also learn to develop your muscle senses.

Most recent