The most common causes of dizziness when lying down are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, ear infection, and some forms of poisoning. These conditions are generally temporary and often subside without any treatment. Other illnesses, such as nausea or food poisoning, can occasionally cause dizziness that may persist although the patient is lying down.
Dizziness is a sensation that often causes nausea, a “swimmy headed” feeling, or a feeling of the room spinning. It is one of the most common medical complaints because so many factors can cause a dizzy feeling. Most of the time, lying down or sitting with the head between the knees helps to alleviate the symptoms associated with dizziness, but occasionally it may persist despite changes in position.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo can cause dizziness when lying down, and it is a condition that occurs most often in the elderly. It is not known exactly what causes it, but it is likely due to debris inside the ear that accumulates over time. This condition generally subsides on its own and does not last longer than a few months. Patients may receive medication to help alleviate symptoms in the meantime.
Ear infections may cause dizziness in much the same way as paroxysmal positional vertigo. When the inner ear is thrown off balance by buildup, infection, or other materials, the body’s equilibrium can be affected and dizziness and nausea may occur. Most infections clear up on their own, but bacterial infections may require antibiotics.
Sometimes, conditions like food poisoning or stomach viruses can cause dizziness when lying down. Although lying in bed generally causes dizziness to subside, very severe illness may cause it to persist. The treatment will depend on the condition. Dizziness that is long lasting or very severe should be investigated further by a medical professional. If poisoning is suspected, a poison control center or emergency services should be contacted immediately.
Dizziness that is accompanied by severe nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, or other symptoms may be the sign of a serious medical condition. A medical professional should be notified if dizziness is sudden and doesn’t subside within several hours. Those who are severely dizzy should not drive and should be taken to the health care provider by a friend or ambulance if necessary.