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Sleeping supine and dizziness


I have been sleeping on two pillows at night because I am finding that when I wake up I have less motion sickness/dizziness from lying to a sitting position. When I am supine on one pillow(cervical pillow) and arise from sleeping there is more movement to get up to a sitting position and I am more dizzy. I have to sit on the edge of the bed until my head starts to feel normal. Sleeping on two pillows is not good for my neck (two whiplash injuries) but I would rather wake up without dizziness. Does anybody else have a problem lying flat at night? Maybe I need to start on medication for this problem.


I’ve been sleeping on 2 or 3 pillows for 22 years now. I take pillows with me when travelling or buy exras when I arrive. I can’t bear to lie flat, the world starts to spin. I worry it’s not good for my neck too so I do some neck exercises most days. I used to take a rolled towel ro exercis eclasses in the days when I still did pilates and yoga so I didn’t have to lie flat on the mat.

I bet lots of people will post to say the same thing


Lying flat is a big problem with many a MAVer it seems. I use at least 3 pillows to create a less uncomfortable gradient for my neck, with one under my upper back.

It’s one reason why I think I’ve made a recovery. Controlling, even eliminating, vertigo at night helps.

It’s also why I’m convinced there’s a physical element to MAV.


I don’t notice sleeping at an incline helps in any way for me. I can hang in an inversion, do a handspring, deadlifts, whatever, nothing really eliminates the rocking sensation unless I’m driving or running


I find how ever many pillows I try I just slip off them once asleep, sleep completely flat on the mattress and wake up the same. Because of BPPV-like symptoms every morning I used to try but long since given up. And, as you say, too many pilows give you neck ache even if you didn’t already have it anyway. Luckily, unless I am feeling really rough, the preventatives usually stop vertigo first thing as I sit up but I do find it best to come up in stages rather than straight through 90 degrees because as @turnitaround says it’s a better day if it doesn’t start by vertigo, and besides that vertigo will just make you more hypersensitive during that day. Muscle tension obviously doesn’t help so I find a really good stretch with extended arms, a body wiggle first (bearing in mind I’m flat on the mattress at this time) seems to help. Must admit sitting up first thing is still a bit of a gamble, not the best part of the morning routine that’s for sure. Just don’t let anyone persuade you you’ve got BPPV in addition to MAV, well, not on this showing, and suggest you try hours of Brandt Daroff exercises to ‘cure’ it cos that could really make the MAV worse. I think it’s just another MAV symptom. Helen


Same for me as well. I even do downward facing dog during yoga. I lift and move heavy objects does not make my dizziness worse.


That was my first diagnosis BPPV and they had me doing the Brandt Daroff exercises. I thought I was going to die. I couldn’t get off the couch after doing those exercises. I was falling over when I got up. I had to call my husband I was so scared. I had to sit upright for the whole night and not move my head until the vertigo/falling over sensation stopped. What a nightmare that was. That’s when I went to see Dr. Rauch for another opinion and he said I didn’t have BPPV and diagnosed MAV. I will try lying supine again when my symptoms are a little bit more under control. Thanks for everyones input.


How awful for you!!! VRT made me absolutely ill also. Im just not stable enough to do it. I cant even look left then right to cross a road without feeling like im being dragged to the ground!!
Jo x


Oh dear. My warning came too late to save you. I heard of plp being admitted to hospital as a result of doing Brandt Daroff exercises. Unmedicated MAVers with unstable symptoms often respond adversely to these exercises and to VRT. Six months, vigorous, five times daily VRT eventually completely knocked my balance out. I couldn’t stand unsupported for weeks. That’s trouble with MAV. Often misdiagnosed for years, often as anxiety or BPPV, and treated accordingly. There’s such a lack of knowledge about it out there unfortunately. Helen


I never really recuperated from those exercises. Definitely made me worse. I never heard those words MAV from my GP, neurologist or ENT that I have been seeing for over a year. My GP was ready to schedule me for another MRI to check for MS since my last MRI was in 2014 and things could have changed she said. Can you believe that! I did my research and made an appointment with Dr. Rauch who diagnosed me correctly.


I like that gradient pillow effect. I am going to give that a try. If I can wake up without the dizziness, then my day is usually good. This is a lot of work to get this under control but totally worth the effort to feel better.


I experienced the same pattern. Good luck with the trial.


I bought an adjustable bed for this reason and use it to sleep in an inclined position. When traveling I use multiple pillows but lots harder to get a good position. I also try to sleep with my head positioned straight or looking right as looking left can still cause dizziness even when inclined.i shaped my pillow to help with head position.

I’m with James in believing this ties to having a physical issue. Also have issues with any bending down activities.

The inclined sleeping position also helped with my gastric reflux issue so j don’t need any drugs for that.



I hope to buy an adjustable bed someday. I think that is the perfect answer for my sleeping position. I have the same problem with turning my head to the left. A few times when I wake up and I am on my right side and turn my head to the left I can sense the spinning is about to start but I quickly turn my head back to a neutral position and it stops. This hasn’t happened in a while but I want to prevent it from ever happening again. Hyperextending my head up is definitely a problem for me. I watch my posture carefully.


Wouldn’t we all, eh. Don’t worry. It’s very very common with MAV. It’ll stop once the MAV’s controlled. Helen