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What are the causes of waking up with nausea?

Updated April 17, 2017

Nausea can occur for a wide variety of reasons. If you only notice nausea first thing in the morning or any time that you wake up, it can be due to one of a variety of causes. However, there are some causes that are more common.

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Nausea is characterised by discomfort in the stomach. It is also common to experience a headache or dizziness. Typically, nausea is accompanied by diarrhoea and the urge to vomit.

The Facts

A common cause of nausea when waking up is acid reflux disease, due to regurgitation. Morning nausea is also common early in pregnancy. Gall bladder disease and certain stomach conditions can cause you to experience nausea at any time. Chemotherapy, postnasal drip, food poisoning, influenza, over consumption of alcohol and stress are some of the shorter term problems which can lead to nausea when waking up.


Eating certain foods right before bedtime can cause you to wake up feeling nauseous. Aim to avoid eating anything for about three hours before bedtime to prevent food from worsening the problem.


If you suspect that the cause of your nausea when waking up is pregnancy, you should take a home pregnancy test or visit your gynecologist. It is ideal to visit a primary care physician or gastrointestinal doctor to find out if you have a stomach condition or food allergy that could be causing your nausea when waking up.


Pregnant women who experience nausea should talk to their doctor about what medications may be harmful to the unborn baby. Keep in mind that it can be hard to identify what is causing your nausea when waking up in the morning without the diagnosis of a doctor.


It is important to seek medical attention if you experience bleeding or severe abdominal pain with vomiting, the inability to retain fluids for eight hours among children or 12 hours among adults, severe thirst which may be related to dehydration, a fever or symptoms that worsen or persist. Nausea can be caused by a variety of health conditions, so it is important to make sure that you get a proper diagnosis.

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About the Author

Jody Morse

Jody Morse has worked as an assistant wedding deejay and has also dabbled in wedding planning. As a sufferer of endometriosis, Morse enjoys writing on women's health topics. Her work has appeared on WomansDay.com, CNN.com, theFrisky.com and other websites. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in writing from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.

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