What Are the Causes of Morning Vertigo?

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Vertigo, often described as dizziness, is a feeling that the room is spinning or that the person with vertigo is spinning. The causes of morning vertigo are the same causes of vertigo experienced at other times of the day. Sitting upright from a laying position can often produce morning vertigo; this change in movement makes morning vertigo more noticeable.

Young woman holding her head while in bed.
Young woman holding her head while in bed.

Types

There are two types of vertigo, linked to their distinct causes. The first type is peripheral vertigo that occurs because of a problem either with the inner ear or the vestibular nerve that serves as the connector piece between the brainstem and the inner ear. The second type of vertigo is central vertigo, which is caused by problems in the brain.

Young man's profile and ear.
Young man's profile and ear.

Causes of Peripheral (Inner Ear) Vertigo

Medications, injuries, diseases, and disorders may cause vertigo resulting from problems with the inner ear. Ménière's disease is a disorder that affects hearing and balance, often causing vertigo. Labyrinthitis is another ear disorder in which the inner ear becomes irritated and swollen, causing vertigo. Vertigo from these disorders may occur in the morning because the body is too rapidly moved from the position it has been in for several hours during sleep, and the imbalance of the inner ear causes the vertigo. Head injury, benign positional vertigo, and drugs like aminoglycosides and antibiotics may also cause this type of vertigo.

Female doctor examining female patient's inner ear.
Female doctor examining female patient's inner ear.

Causes of Peripheral (Vestibular Nerve) Vertigo

Inflammation of the vestibular nerve and compression of the nerve are common causes of peripheral vertigo. Inflammation of the nerve may be caused by an infection or medication. Compression of the vestibular nerve is often caused by a tumor near the nerve, causing the nerve to become compressed.

Illustration of nerves and neurons
Illustration of nerves and neurons

Causes of Central Vertigo

Central vertigo is caused by various problems inside the brain, most often the problems that affect the brain stem or cerebellum. Alcohol is a very common cause of central vertigo, and when the vertigo is experienced in the morning it may be a result of a hangover. Other drugs like anticonvulsants and aspirin also cause central vertigo. Blood vessel diseases also cause vertigo, and morning vertigo may be experienced more often with this cause because of the dormancy of slow of blood flow during sleep. Migraines, seizures, and multiple sclerosis are also causes of central vertigo.

Man holding his head in pain.
Man holding his head in pain.

Warnings

Doctor’s warn that people experiencing recurring bouts of vertigo or vertigo with other symptoms should seek professional medical evaluation. Symptoms like severe headaches, blurred vision, speech problems, hearing loss, fainting, weakness in the limbs, numbness, chest pain, and problems walking, when experienced with vertigo, should be immediately reported to a medical professional.

Doctor talking to woman about her symptoms.
Doctor talking to woman about her symptoms.

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