What It Means When You Wake Up Feeling Nauseous

We never know what a new day will bring. Some mornings, you might wake up feeling rejuvenated, while other days, you may awaken feeling tired, stressed, or maybe a little under the weather. In some cases, this might include feelings of nausea. We tend to associate nausea with having eaten something that didn't quite agree with us. However, you likely haven't eaten anything within the last eight hours you spent sound asleep, so why are you waking up feeling nauseous first thing in the morning?

One of the first causes that may come to mind is pregnancy. Often occurring around the six-week mark, many pregnant people experience morning sickness, according to Heritage Urgent and Primary Care. However, there are many other reasons why you may feel the urge to throw up early in the morning that have nothing to do with pregnancy. In some instances, your nausea may be the product of congestion-related pressure on the inner ears. Alternatively, if you had one too many drinks last night, nausea is one of many hangover symptoms you may experience the following morning.

Acid reflux, headaches, and more

Morning-time nausea is also not uncommon for people who experience symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), such as acid reflux (via Heritage Urgent and Primary Care). The backup of stomach acid into the throat while lying down all night can leave one feeling nauseous and with an unpleasant taste in the mouth upon waking up.

Alternatively, some people find themselves prone to headaches in the morning hours, reports Medical News Today. Often accompanied by nausea, a migraine or cluster headache may be the reason you feel as if you might throw up. Similarly, if you slept awkwardly on your neck, shoulders, or head, that muscle pain could also prompt a bout of morning nausea.

If that's still not it, waking up with a queasy feeling in your stomach is sometimes simply due to the fact that you haven't fueled your body for several hours. Thirst, hunger, and subsequent low blood sugar can all cause nausea as you start to roll out of bed. Having some breakfast and drinking plenty of water first thing in the morning may help relieve the discomfort.

Related health conditions and when to seek medical care

While morning nausea is not always indicative of a serious health issue, there are cases in which it may be. This can include gallstones, food poisoning, or a condition known as gastroparesis, in which one's stomach muscles are not working as they should and food is unable to move through the digestive tract (per Heritage Urgent and Primary Care).

Alternatively, ulcers that develop on the inside lining of the stomach, known as peptic ulcers, have also been linked to morning nausea. Finally, although not solely isolated to morning hours, those with diabetes may experience nausea if they enter diabetic ketoacidosis. Characterized by an accumulation of ketones in the blood, the condition warrants urgent emergency care.

However, cases of diabetic ketoacidosis are not the only instances in which one should reach out for medical care. Speak with your doctor if you think you may be pregnant or if you suspect your nausea may be linked to medication usage or withdrawal (via Medical News Today). If you are vomiting blood or experience severe stomach pain, a high fever, or confusion, seek emergency medical help.