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Sleep problems are no minor matter.

According to the National Institutes of Health, one in three Americans report not getting enough sleep each night. And although sleep deprivation is a common problem, being widespread doesn’t lessen its effects. 

Sleep deprivation can negatively influence a person’s mood, cognitive abilities and judgment, as well as contribute to physical illness. You may be wondering, “can lack of sleep cause nausea?” In fact, one of the most prevalent side effects of lack of sleep is nausea.

What Is Nausea?

Put simply, nausea is feeling sick to your stomach. It’s a common symptom of many ailments and can happen suddenly or regularly. 

Fortunately, nausea doesn’t necessarily indicate a more serious illness and can usually pass quickly. If you’ve experienced motion sickness, food poisoning or the stomach flu, you’ve probably felt nauseous. 

[Related: How Does Your Sleep Position Affect Sleep Quality?]

How Sleep Deprivation Can Affect the Immune System

So can lack of sleep cause nausea? Lack of sleep can hurt your immune system, causing you to feel nauseous due to a variety of reasons. 


When you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system’s cells go into overdrive. They produce proteins known as pro-inflammatory cytokines that increase tissue inflammation throughout the body — including the digestive organs. This triggers uncomfortable symptoms, one of which is nausea. 

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Studies have also linked sleep deprivation to gastrointestinal disorders. 

People suffering from lack of sleep are at an increased risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome. They’re also apt to suffer more severe episodes of previously diagnosed gastrointestinal disorders, such as these: 

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Acid reflux
  • Dyspepsia

[Related: Will Losing Weight Help Sleep Apnea?]

Outside Triggers That May Link Sleep Deprivation and Nausea

Besides triggering internal issues that can cause nausea, sleep deprivation can change important habits. 

For example, lack of sleep may prompt appetite changes, causing you to crave unhealthy, high-sugar snacks. You might reach for caffeinated beverages more than usual to feel more awake. Both sugary foods and caffeine can then trigger an upset stomach.

Additionally, being unable to get a good night’s sleep can often cause depression or anxiety. In some cases, sleep deprivation-sufferers may turn to drugs or alcohol to combat these feelings. This can lead to nausea as well as much more serious physical and mental health issues down the line.

How Else Does Sleep Deprivation Affect Health?

In addition to harming your digestive system and causing nausea, sleep deprivation can raise your risk of developing these illnesses:

  • Heart problems (like arrhythmia)
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Cognitive impairment (like confusion and memory loss)
  • Dizziness
  • Cortisol imbalance
  • Dermatological issues (like dull, dry or itchy skin)

[Related: How Obstructive Sleep Apnea Can Affect Your Health]

Tips for Getting More Sleep and Calming Your Nausea

First, do your best to establish a good sleep routine. For example, try to stick to consistent sleeping and waking times in a dark, quiet room away from computer, phone and TV screens. Maintain a comfortable room temperature, and avoid spicy and salty foods, caffeine and alcohol right before bed. 

If your stomach feels upset, try taking easy steps to alleviate nausea:

  • Drinking enough water 
  • Getting fresh air 
  • Trying safe home remedies, like sipping ginger, peppermint or chamomile tea

The best step to solve sleep deprivation nausea is seeing a specialist! 

When your sleep deprivation and nausea are tightly linked, it can be difficult to solve one without exacerbating the other. Speak with your doctor about insomnia, and discuss possible sleep disorder treatments, therapies and lifestyle changes that can help.

[Related: How To Sleep Better While Traveling]

Make an Appointment With Dr. Pasha Today

Your health and your sleep don’t have to suffer. 

By considering your unique health needs, age and habits, Pasha Snoring & Sinus Center can help you find the best solution for your sleep deprivation and nausea. Together, we’ll learn how to improve your sleep quality and put an end to constant fatigue. 

If you feel that your quality of life is suffering because of your quality of sleep, schedule an appointment with us today!

Featured image via Pexels

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