Insomnia And Nausea

A Guide To Getting Your Health Back On Track

Insomnia and nausea are two common but disruptive health issues that can severely impact the quality of life. Lying awake at night unable to sleep or feeling sick to your stomach throughout the day can negatively affect work, relationships, and overall well-being. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide an in-depth look at the causes, symptoms, and most effective treatments for both insomnia and nausea so you can get your health back on track.

Insomnia is characterized by persistent difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early. It can be caused by stress, medical conditions, mental health disorders, medications, or poor sleep habits. Symptoms include fatigue, low energy, concentration issues, and impaired work performance. Treatment involves lifestyle changes like sleep hygiene, therapy, medications, or natural remedies.

Nausea is the uncomfortable sensation of needing to vomit. Common causes include infections, food poisoning, motion sickness, migraines, pregnancy, and medication side effects. Symptoms may include clammy skin, dizziness, and salivation. Mild nausea can be managed with rest, hydration, and medications. Severe or ongoing nausea may require treatment of an underlying medical condition.

Insomnia and nausea are common health complaints that can greatly impact daily functioning and well-being. Identifying the root cause and accessing appropriate medical care and lifestyle adjustments can help manage both sleeplessness and nausea.

The Connection Between Insomnia And Nausea

Insomnia and nausea often co-occur and exacerbate one another through several mechanisms:

  • Stress – Stress can directly cause or worsen both insomnia and nausea. Insomnia itself acts as a stressor on the body, while severe nausea leads to anxiety. This two-way relationship makes the conditions prone to a vicious cycle.
  • Inflammation – Chronic inflammation is linked to nausea and can interfere with sleep regulation. Lack of sleep also increases inflammatory cytokines.
  • Neurochemistry – Serotonin regulates nausea, vomiting, and sleep. Disrupted serotonin from insomnia can lower the vomiting threshold. Melatonin also regulates sleep and gastric motility.
  • Circadian rhythms – Insomnia throws off circadian cycles regulated by melatonin. Nausea and vomiting can disrupt rhythms through dehydration, hunger, and discomfort.
  • Medications – Sleep aids like benzodiazepines can cause nausea as a side effect. Nausea medications like opioids can worsen insomnia. Withdrawing from either medication class also leads to rebound insomnia or nausea.
  • Fatigue – Exhaustion from poor sleep decreases the body’s ability to tolerate nausea symptoms. This makes nausea feel more severe in a sleep-deprived state.

In summary, insomnia and nausea form a reciprocal relationship, where each condition can increase the risk, severity, and duration of the other. Treating both concurrently, through lifestyle changes, therapy, and medication management, provides the best results.

Understanding Insomnia

Insomnia is defined as persistent difficulty falling or staying asleep that impairs daytime function. It’s estimated that up to 30% of adults experience symptoms of insomnia, making it the most prevalent sleep disorder.

Types Of Insomnia?

Here are the main types of insomnia:

  • Transient insomnia – Lasting a few days to weeks, often caused by temporary stress, disruptions in schedule, etc.
  • Short-term insomnia – Lasting 3-4 weeks, sometimes connected to periods of grief, exams, starting a new job, etc.
  • Chronic insomnia – Occurring at least 3 nights per week for over 3 months. Usually linked to medical, psychiatric, or sleep disorders.
  • Onset insomnia – Difficulty falling asleep at the beginning of the night.
  • Maintenance insomnia – Waking frequently throughout the night.
  • Terminal insomnia – Waking too early in the morning and being unable to fall back asleep.
  • Comorbid insomnia – Insomnia occurring alongside another medical, psychiatric, or sleep disorder. The other condition may cause or worsen insomnia symptoms.
  • Paradoxical insomnia – Misperception of poor sleep quality and duration despite normal sleep indicators.
  • Idiopathic insomnia – Chronic insomnia without an identifiable cause.

The most common insomnia subtypes are transient, short-term, and chronic insomnia. Onset and maintenance insomnia also make up a significant portion of cases. Identifying the specific insomnia type is important for guiding appropriate treatment approaches.


Common Symptoms Of Insomnia

Symptoms of Insomnia
– Difficulty falling asleep at night
– Tossing and turning in bed
– Lying awake in bed for long periods
– Waking up multiple times during the night
– Waking up too early in the morning
– Relying on sleeping pills or alcohol to fall asleep
– Inability to fall back asleep after nighttime awakenings
– Feeling unrefreshed after a night’s sleep
– Daytime fatigue and sleepiness
– Decreased energy and motivation
– Difficulty concentrating or paying attention
– Irritability, anxiety, depression
– Errors or accidents due to sleep deprivation
– Headaches upon waking in the morning

The main symptoms involve difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep at night and impaired daytime function due to poor sleep quality or duration. Tracking insomnia symptoms helps determine the severity and guide treatment.

Causes and Risk Factors Of Insomnia

A single factor rarely causes insomnia. Common causes and risk factors include:

  • Stress – One of the most common triggers of acute insomnia
  • Medical conditions – Chronic pain, cancer, heart disease, hyperthyroidism, Chronic pain, arthritis, headaches, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Hyperthyroidism, acid reflux, menopause,
  • Mental health disorders – Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, Traumatic brain injury or dementia, Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, PTSD.
  • Medications – Blood pressure drugs, SSRIs, corticosteroids, Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol consumption
  • Sleep disorders – Sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, circadian rhythm disorders
  • Caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine consumption
  • Poor sleep habits – Inconsistent sleep routine, using electronics before bed, irregular schedules, daytime napping
  • Aging – insomnia risk increases with age

The main risk categories include medical conditions, mental health disorders, medication side effects, sleep disorders, demographics, and environmental factors. Identifying and addressing the root cause is key to treating insomnia.

Consequences of Insomnia

Over time, lack of quality sleep can take a major toll both physically and mentally. Potential consequences include:

  • Impaired concentration, memory, and cognition
  • Higher risk of psychiatric illness and substance abuse
  • Increased errors and accidents
  • Reduced quality of life and happiness -Weakened immune system and frequent sickness
  • Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure
  • Increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Managing And Treating Insomnia

While insomnia can be frustrating and debilitating, various treatment approaches and lifestyle changes can help reduce symptoms and improve sleep quality.

Behavioral and Lifestyle Modifications

Making adjustments to daily habits and routines is recommended as the first-line treatment for chronic insomnia. Tips include:

  • Maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule 7 days a week
  • Establish relaxing pre-bedtime rituals like light yoga, reading, or taking a bath
  • Avoid screens and bright lights before bedtime
  • Limit daytime naps to 30 minutes
  • Exercise regularly, but not right before bed
  • Keep the bedroom cool, dark, and quiet
  • Avoid large meals, alcohol, and caffeine before bed
  • Reduce stress through meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, etc.

Over-the-counter and Prescription Medications

Sleep medications can provide short-term relief of insomnia symptoms but should be used cautiously due to side effects and risk of dependence.

  • Over-the-counter options include diphenhydramine (Benadryl), doxylamine (Unisom), and melatonin.
  • Prescription hypnotic medications include zolpidem (Ambien), eszopiclone (Lunesta), and zaleplon (Sonata).
  • Only take sleep medications when needed instead of nightly. Follow dosage guidelines carefully.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is considered the first-line treatment for chronic insomnia. Here are some key points about CBT-I:

  • It is a structured program that typically consists of 4-8 sessions with a trained sleep therapist. Sessions can be one-on-one or in a group setting.
  • The goal is to target thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that contribute to insomnia. This includes things like unrealistic sleep expectations, excessive worrying about sleep, and inconsistent sleep/wake schedules.
  • CBT-I helps people develop better sleep habits and improve their ability to sleep. Effects can be long-lasting compared to medication alone.
  • Studies show CBT-I helps increase sleep efficiency, quality, and duration for many people with chronic insomnia.
  • Common techniques used in CBT-I include:
  1. Sleep restriction – restricting time spent in bed to only actual sleep times to strengthen sleep drive
  2. Stimulus control – strategies to associate the bed/bedroom with sleepiness not wakefulness
  3. Cognitive restructuring – identifying and reframing dysfunctional beliefs about sleep
  4. Relaxation training – techniques like meditation to reduce anxiety/racing thoughts

Other Relaxation Techniques

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Guided imageryLight yoga and stretching
  • Aromatherapy with lavender oil
  • A warm bath before bed
  • AcupunctureHypnosis and self-hypnosis
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Music therapy and soothing music
  • Reading a book before bed
  • Limiting screen time before bed
  • Writing in a journal
  • Light massage or acupressure
  • Drinking herbal tea like chamomile
  • Using a weighted blanket
  • Keeping a gratitude journal

These relaxation techniques work by reducing anxiety, soothing the nervous system, improving sleep drive, and establishing a healthy pre-bed routine. They are often most effective when used in combination with other insomnia treatments.

Insomnia Treatment By Natural Herb

Here are some natural herbs that may help treat insomnia:

  • Chamomile – Contains apigenin, a compound with sedative and anti-anxiety properties. Taken as a tea or supplement.
  • Valerian Root – Increases GABA levels to promote sleep. May help with falling asleep faster and improving sleep quality.
  • Magnesium – A mineral that may relax muscles and nerves. Helps induce sleepiness. Good sources are dark leafy greens, nuts, and seeds.
  • Passionflower – Has apigenin and may provide mild sedative effects to help initiate sleep.
  • Glycine – An amino acid that may improve sleep quality by lowering body temperature. Found in bone broth, spinach, and dairy.
  • Lemon Balm – Contains antioxidants that may calm nervous system activity. Taken as tea, extract, or essential oil.
  • Lavender – Smelling lavender essential oil or taking it as a supplement may promote relaxation and sleep.
  • CBD Oil – May interact with serotonin receptors and reduce anxiety that disrupts sleep.
  • Ashwagandha – An adaptogen herb that may reduce stress hormones like cortisol to improve sleep.

These herbs appear safe for short-term use but potential side effects and interactions should be considered. Check with your doctor before use, especially if taking other medications or supplements. Effects may depend on proper dosing, administration, and potency.

Natural Herb For Insomnia
Natural Herb For Insomnia

How To Calm Nausea Through A Proper Sleep?

Here are some tips for using proper sleep habits to help calm nausea:

  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule – Keeping a steady sleep-wake cycle can help minimize nausea by regulating circadian rhythms.
  • Optimize sleep environment – Create a cool, dark, quiet bedroom. Temperature regulation and melatonin production are important for controlling nausea.
  • Wind down before bed – Develop a relaxing pre-sleep routine like light yoga, reading, or meditation to prepare the body for sleep.
  • Avoid heavy meals before bed – Eating a large, spicy, or fatty meal too close to bedtime can trigger indigestion and nausea.
  • Stay hydrated – Dehydration can cause electrolyte imbalances that provoke nausea. Drink plenty of fluids during the day and sip water before bed.
  • Use ginger – Consuming ginger tea or supplements at night may ease stomach discomfort and nausea.
  • Manage stress – Anxiety and chronic stress affect sleep and may worsen nausea. Try calming practices like guided imagery or deep breathing before bed.
  • Ask your doctor about medications – If nausea is disrupting sleep, asking your doctor about appropriate anti-nausea or sleep aids may help.

Getting adequate, high-quality sleep is key to controlling nausea symptoms. If nausea persists, speak to your healthcare provider about potential underlying causes

How Immune System Are Affected Through Inadequate Sleep?

Here are some tips for using proper sleep habits to help calm nausea:

  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule – Keeping a steady sleep-wake cycle can help minimize nausea by regulating circadian rhythms.
  • Optimize sleep environment – Create a cool, dark, quiet bedroom. Temperature regulation and melatonin production are important for controlling nausea.
  • Wind down before bed – Develop a relaxing pre-sleep routine like light yoga, reading, or meditation to prepare the body for sleep.
  • Avoid heavy meals before bed – Eating a large, spicy, or fatty meal too close to bedtime can trigger indigestion and nausea.
  • Stay hydrated – Dehydration can cause electrolyte imbalances that provoke nausea. Drink plenty of fluids during the day and sip water before bed.
  • Use ginger – Consuming ginger tea or supplements at night may ease stomach discomfort and nausea.
  • Manage stress – Anxiety and chronic stress affect sleep and may worsen nausea. Try calming practices like guided imagery or deep breathing before bed.
  • Ask your doctor about medications – If nausea is disrupting sleep, asking your doctor about appropriate anti-nausea or sleep aids may help.

Getting adequate, high-quality sleep is key to controlling nausea symptoms. If nausea persists, speak to your healthcare provider about potential underlying causes.

When to Seek Medical Help

Make an appointment with your doctor if insomnia symptoms persist over 3 months and interfere with your ability to function during the day. Seek immediate medical attention if insomnia is accompanied by breathing issues, intense chest pain, feelings of worthlessness, or thoughts of suicide. Ongoing insomnia may indicate an underlying medical or mental health issue requiring diagnosis and treatment.

Understanding Nausea

Nausea is the unpleasant sensation of needing to vomit or “throw up.” It’s commonly preceded by a queasy feeling in the stomach and often accompanied by clammy skin, dizziness, and salivation.

Here is a table comparing nausea and vomiting:

Nausea Vomiting
Definition The feeling that you need to vomit. An uneasy sensation in the stomach with involuntary urging to vomit. The forceful expulsion of stomach contents through the mouth.
Cause Dysfunction in the brain or gut triggering vomiting reflex. Powerful muscle contractions to forcibly eject stomach contents. Often follows nausea.
Duration Can occur without vomiting for hours to days. Vomiting usually lasts a few minutes.
Symptoms Queasiness, stomach distress Retching, heaving
Increased saliva Abdominal contractions
Sweating Expulsion of vomit
Dizziness, lightheadedness Sour taste in the mouth
Triggers Medications, toxins Severe nausea
Migraines Food poisoning
Motion sickness Viral infections
 Early pregnancy Vertigo
 Food poisoning Head injury
Treatment Resting, hydrating Anti-nausea medication
Antiemetics Treating the underlying cause
Dietary changes IV fluids for dehydration
Addressing the underlying cause

Nausea is the feeling leading up to vomiting, while vomiting is the act of forcefully expelling stomach contents, often following severe nausea. Both should be treated by addressing the root cause and using medications as needed.

Types Of Nausea

Here are the main types of nausea:

  • Motion sickness nausea – Caused by movement in a car, boat, plane, or amusement park rides.
  • Morning sickness nausea – Nausea and vomiting that occurs during pregnancy, typically in the first trimester.
  • Medication-induced nausea – A side effect of certain medications like antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, and opioids.
  • Post-surgery nausea – Common after general anesthesia due to the anesthesia drugs and process of intubation.
  • Food poisoning nausea – From bacteria or viruses contaminating food leading to gastrointestinal infection.
  • Vestibular nausea – Caused by problems with the inner ear balance system, like vertigo or migraines.
  • Anxiety nausea – Chronic anxiety can increase nausea by stimulating the vagus nerve.
  • Cardiac nausea – Heart attacks, arrhythmias, and heart failure can prompt nausea.
  • Gallbladder nausea – Gallbladder inflammation or gallstones may cause abdominal pain and nausea.
  • Early satiety nausea – Feeling full quickly while eating and accompanied by nausea.
  • Nausea gravidarum – Excessive nausea during pregnancy, classified as hyperemesis gravidarum.
  • Unexplained nausea – Persistent nausea without an identifiable cause, also called functional nausea.

Identifying the type and cause of nausea guides appropriate treatment approaches to alleviate symptoms.

Causes of Nausea

Nausea can arise from conditions affecting the gastrointestinal tract, brain and nervous system, inner ear, or psychiatry. Common causes include:

  • Food poisoning – From bacteria, viruses, parasites, or toxins
  • Gastroenteritis (stomach flu) – Viruses causing inflammation of the GI tract
  • Migraines or headaches
  • Cancer treatments – Chemotherapy, radiation therapy
  • Medications – Antibiotics, pain relievers, antidepressants
  • Morning sickness during pregnancy
  • Gallstones
  • Indigestion or ulcers
  • Infections – Like hepatitis, meningitis, kidney infections
  • Heart attack or heart failure
  • Dehydration or electrolyte imbalances
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Motion sickness

Risk Factors Of Nausea

Here is a table summarizing some of the key risk factors for nausea:

Risk Factor Description
Pregnancy Nausea and vomiting are very common in early pregnancy due to hormonal changes. Morning sickness typically starts around 6 weeks gestation.
Vestibular dysfunction Issues with the inner ear/balance system can trigger nausea via distorted sensory signals to the brain. Common causes include vertigo, motion sickness, and infections.
Medications Many medications list nausea as a common side effect. Chemotherapy drugs, opioids, antibiotics, and SSRI antidepressants are frequent culprits.
Gastroparesis This condition causes delayed emptying of food from the stomach, which can promote nausea due to gastric distension. Common causes are diabetes and neurological disorders.
Bowel obstruction When the intestines are fully or partially obstructed, nausea often results. This can occur from things like hernias, tumors, severe constipation, etc.
Migraines Nausea with or without vomiting frequently occurs as part of the migraine symptom complex. The pathophysiology links to neurological factors and cortical spreading depression.
Anxiety Stress hormones released due to anxiety can directly stimulate the vomiting center in the brain. This triggers nausea in disorders like generalized anxiety and panic attacks.

When to See a Doctor

Make an appointment with your healthcare provider if nausea:

  • It lasts more than a few days
  • Is accompanied by vomiting over 2 days
  • Is paired with concerning symptoms like chest/abdominal pain, headache, stiff neck, confusion
  • Prevents you from keeping down foods and liquids
  • Occurs with changes in vision, balance, or mental state
  • Happens with a fever over 101 F (38.3 C)

Seek emergency care for nausea along with:

  • Chest pain
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Blood in vomit
  • Signs of dehydration – Dizziness, fainting, rapid heart rate, dry mouth
Medical Help
Medical Help

Managing and Treating Nausea

Mild cases of nausea can often be treated at home with lifestyle adjustments and over-the-counter medications. Seek medical guidance for severe or persistent nausea.

Lifestyle and Dietary Changes

  • Rest with eyes closed in a dim, quiet room
  • Apply a cool compress to the forehead
  • Sip small amounts of clear liquids frequently
  • Avoid spicy, greasy, sweet, or acidic foods
  • Eat bland foods like bananas, rice, applesauce, toast
  • Don’t lie down after eating
  • Avoid smoke, strong smells


  • OTC anti-nausea medications like Emetrol, Bonine, Dramamine
  • Prescription anti-nausea meds such as Zofran, Phenergan, Compazine
  • Medications to treat underlying conditions causing nausea

Alternative Therapies Of Nausea

Here are some alternative therapies that may help alleviate nausea:

  • Ginger – Consuming ginger tea, capsules, or candied ginger may reduce nausea. Ginger is thought to interact with serotonin receptors.
  • Peppermint – The scent of peppermint essential oils or teas can soothe stomach upset and relieve nausea.
  • Acupuncture involves placing thin needles on specific pressure points in the body, which may reduce nausea.
  • Acupressure – Applying pressure to the Neiguan spot on the inner wrist with acupressure bands or massage may prevent nausea.
  • Relaxation techniques – Deep breathing, guided imagery, meditation, and hypnosis help induce relaxation to ease nausea.
  • Aromatherapy – Smelling soothing essential oils like lemon, lavender, and spearmint may alleviate nausea.
  • Music therapy – Listening to calm, soothing music can help distract from and relieve nausea.
  • Vitamin B6 – Taking vitamin B6 supplements may decrease nausea related to morning sickness, chemotherapy, or migraines.
  • Cannabinoids – Marijuana and CBD products may reduce nausea by interacting with receptors in the body.
  • Homeopathy – Homeopathic remedies containing highly diluted amounts of ipecacuanha, nux vomica, or pulsatilla may minimize nausea.

These alternative therapies are considered safe, low-risk approaches to reduce nausea severity. They are best used alongside conventional treatments under medical guidance. Results vary based on the individual and proper use of the therapy.

Seek immediate medical treatment if you are unable to keep down any fluids without vomiting for over 8 hours, or if symptoms are significantly impairing your daily function. With proper diagnosis and management, nausea can often be minimized so you can get back to feeling your best.


Nausea Treatment By Natural Herbs

Here are some natural herbs that may help treat nausea:

  • Ginger – Has anti-nausea and Digestive effects. Can be consumed as ginger tea, capsules, or candied ginger.
  • Peppermint – Has a soothing flavor that can ease stomach upset and nausea. Take peppermint tea, oil, or candies.
  • Fennel – Contains anethole that helps reduce inflammation and relax GI muscles to reduce nausea.
  • Lavender – The scent of lavender essential oil or oral supplements may relieve nausea.
  • Cannabis – Certain cannabis compounds like THC and CBD may have anti-nausea benefits for some people.
  • Chamomile – Has a calming effect on the body and may ease nausea. Drink a tea or take supplements.
  • Lemon – The scent of lemon can reduce nausea symptoms. Lemon slices, oil, or tea can be used.
  • Black horehound – Traditionally used to treat nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness.
  • Nutmeg – May help reduce morning sickness and queasiness from chemotherapy. Use freshly grated.
  • Ginseng – Potential to reduce chemotherapy-related nausea. American and Chinese ginseng varieties.

Always check with your doctor before using herbal remedies, especially when taking other medications. Proper dosing is important to maximize benefits and avoid side effects.

Natural Herbs For Nausea
Natural Herbs For Nausea


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about insomnia and nausea:

What’s the difference between acute and chronic insomnia?

Acute insomnia lasts less than 3 months and is often caused by temporary stress or changes in routine. Chronic insomnia continues over 3 months and typically relates to an underlying physical or mental health issue.

What should I avoid eating before bed to prevent insomnia?

Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods as well as caffeine and alcohol for 4 hours before bedtime. Light snacks like turkey, bananas, almonds, or chamomile tea may help induce sleepiness.

Is it safe to use OTC or prescription sleep aids long-term?

Over-the-counter and prescription sleep medications should only be used short-term unless advised by your doctor. They can cause dependence and adverse effects with prolonged nightly use.

What home remedies help soothe nausea?

Ginger, peppermint tea, acupressure bands, and relaxation techniques may provide relief for mild nausea. Stay hydrated by sipping clear liquids and rest in a quiet, dark room.

When should I worry about nausea and vomiting during pregnancy?

Contact your doctor if vomiting prevents keeping liquids down for over 8 hours, you have signs of dehydration, or nausea prevents basic functioning. Some vomiting is normal but excessive vomiting needs medical attention.

Can anxiety cause nausea?

Yes, anxiety commonly causes nausea by increasing the production of stomach acid. Relaxation techniques, therapy, and medications can all help reduce anxiety-related nausea.


Insomnia and nausea are two disruptive symptoms that greatly reduce the quality of life when they become ongoing issues. By understanding the wide range of potential causes and treatments, you can work with your healthcare provider to find the most effective solutions for overcoming both sleeplessness and persistent nausea. Implementing proper lifestyle changes, alternative therapies, and medical treatment can help restore your health, well-being, and peace of mind.


My name is Selina, a medical specialist blogger helping people access treatment for 5+ years. Although blogging awhile, only recently deeply engaged. This past year my most productive, providing hospital reviews and info on symptoms, diagnoses and diseases. Also offer guidelines to help readers navigate healthcare. Goal to continue increased content pace to assist many. Aim to facilitate treatment and empower advocacy through writing.

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