There are other reasons why you can't stomach the thought of eating
Morning sickness is one of the most well-known hallmarks of pregnancy,
but what may not be well known is that you don't have to be pregnant
to experience it.
"There can be many causes behind a feeling of morning sickness that
have nothing to do with pregnancy," says
Bonnie Connolly, MD, a board-certified internal medicine physician at
St. Joseph Heritage Medical Group. "There is, of course, something simple such as the stomach flu or
food poisoning, which goes away after a few days. But there are other
causes of morning nausea that can be eliminated with simple lifestyle
Poor Sleep Habits
Insomnia, sleep apnea and just not getting enough hours of rest at night
can have a
detrimental effect on your overall health, and that includes your digestive system.
"Studies have found that the circadian rhythms that govern your sleep
patterns are linked to your digestive system," Dr. Connolly says.
"That means if you have a problem getting enough sleep--usually about
seven to nine hours for adults--it can affect your appetite and metabolism,
and cause that morning queasiness."
If you need help getting a good night's sleep, try incorporating some of these
helpful tips into your nighttime routine; if the problem is chronic, such as insomnia,
cognitive behavior therapy may be helpful, as would a visit with your physician to discuss the problem.
Low Blood Sugar
"Your body converts food into sugar, or glucose, so you have the energy
you need to get you through the day. But if you're in the habit of
skipping meals, you can wake up with the nausea and weakness associated
with a temporary drop in blood sugar levels," Dr. Connolly says.
"You should make sure you eat healthy meals with a balance of lean
protein, fiber and
complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, and don't skip meals," she says. "And
if you do wake up with a sick stomach from not eating much the day before,
try a small snack such as whole-wheat crackers with cheese or an apple
with almond butter to get your blood sugar back up."
If you regularly feel nauseous and weak in the mornings, and are experiencing
other symptoms such as irritability or shakiness, have your blood glucose
levels checked by your doctor.
"Low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia, is a common marker of
prediabetes and diabetes," Dr. Connolly says. "You can also experience
hypoglycemia as an offshoot of a medication, drinking too much alcohol
to the point where it impairs liver function, or a deeper health issue
with the heart, liver or kidneys."
If your food isn't digesting properly, some of the stomach acid travels
up the esophagus, causing heartburn and nausea. "You can avoid the
aftereffects of acid reflux in the mornings by eating well the night before,"
Dr. Connolly says.
To prevent acid reflux, don't eat heavy dinners, and avoid eating entirely
three hours before bedtime, Dr. Connolly recommends. "At dinner,
skip fatty foods, caffeine or carbonated drinks, which can increase the
chances of acid reflux. If you often struggle with acid reflux, start
acid reflux-fighting foods such as kale and brown rice into your meals, and also try sleeping with
your head elevated on a couple of pillows."
Anxious about a big meeting? Those butterflies in your stomach can make
food seem unappealing. "Relieve worry with the use of common relaxation
techniques such as
meditation that are quick and easy to practice in the morning," Dr. Connolly says.
Dr. Connolly adds that you should keep an eye out for the following warning
signs: morning nausea that lasts for more than a month; vomiting for more
than two days in a row that's not caused by a flu or food poisoning;
head or stomach pain and extreme weight loss.
"There could be a bigger health issue at work than just morning sickness,
so talk with your physician about your symptoms," she says.
How have you successfully coped with morning nausea? Share your home remedy below.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.