What It Means When Feeling Tired Makes You Nauseous

When you feel your stomach starting to turn and churn, your first thought might be that you ate something that didn't quite agree with you. That, or maybe you start wondering whether you're finally coming down with that stomach bug going around. Your last thought, probably, is that your nausea may be related to the fact that you're feeling particularly tired today. However, this may just be the case.

A rough night's sleep can leave you feeling down, mentally foggy, and sluggish the next day. In addition to your mood and mental clarity being impacted, your gut may not be feeling so great either. Experts have observed a connection between inadequate sleep and nausea, or the feeling that you need to throw up, reports the Sleep Foundation. Therefore, if your tiredness is making you feel sick to your stomach, it likely means that you didn't get the seven to eight hours of sleep recommended nightly for adults, as per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The relationship between sleep and our gut

What's the story behind this connection? Scientists say that a lack of sleep causes our immune system to ramp up (via Sleep Foundation). When this happens, the body produces an excess of proteins that boost tissue inflammation, including within the intestines. Hello, nausea. While this may only be bothersome on occasion, prolonged sleep deprivation can put us at risk of developing various gastrointestinal disorders or may exacerbate the symptoms of those already diagnosed. Such conditions include peptic ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), colon cancer, and more.

Alternatively, fatigue and nausea that occur simultaneously may be indicative of an alternate health condition unrelated to the digestive tract. Hyper- or hypothyroidism, migraines, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, allergies, and pregnancy are among those on the list, according to experts at Medical News Today. However, feeling sleepy and nauseous at the same time isn't always a sign of a health condition. Sometimes, a particularly exhausting vacation may be the cause of your nausea, especially if your sleep-wake cycle is being thrown off by traveling through a different time zone (via NBC News).

If jet lag is making you tired, you may feel nauseous too

Even if you spend most of your time lying on the beach with a fruity margarita in hand, vacations can still be downright exhausting, particularly if you're dealing with jet lag. So much so that it's not unusual to find yourself feeling a little nauseous during the course of your trip. "Exhaustion can absolutely make someone feel nauseous and even lead to vomiting," Dr. Rachel Vreeman, assistant professor of pediatrics in the Children's Health Services Research Program at the Indiana University School of Medicine, told NBC News. "Sometimes, the body responds to fatigue — especially extreme fatigue — with symptoms of nausea. Stomach upset, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, can also be symptoms of jet lag."

In addition to making gut-friendly lifestyle choices, the key to preventing tired-related nausea is to practice healthy sleep habits, too. This includes keeping a regular bedtime, cutting out screen time before sleep, and creating a soothing environment in the bedroom by using soft lighting, comfy blankets, and keeping the room at a cooler temperature.