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Vomiting While Sleeping: Causes and Prevention

Vomiting While Sleeping: Causes and Prevention

Vomiting while sleeping can turn out to be quite a cumbersome and sometimes dangerous ordeal. This HealthHearty article will delve into why this may be happening to you and also offer some remedies that you can use to prevent it from recurring.
Sujata Iyer
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
Vomiting, throwing up, getting sick, puking, whatever you may call it, it is one of the most unpleasant experiences that we go through. The reasons may be varied, but that does not take away the utter revulsion that we feel when the chunks of food and bile come swimming up and out of our mouths. Too graphic for you? Now imagine doing this while you are sleeping! Imagine waking up with the acrid smell of vomit in your nostrils and the disgusting flavor in your mouth.
Yes, there are a lot of people who vomit in their sleep! It is one of the most discomforting experiences and can turn very dangerous if not treated in time. In the below sections, we have attempted to give you an insight on what could be causing this.
Why does One Vomit in Sleep?

There are a lot of people who suffer from involuntary bouts of throwing up in their sleep. While some tend to wake up just in time to rush to the bathroom, others are not so lucky. They end up puking in their sleep and wake up either in the middle of it or after a bout. What causes vomiting while sleeping? Let us see what the most probable causes could be.


Sometimes, it may happen that you eat a particular food item that does not agree with you. You may not realize this at that time. But when you sleep immediately after eating it, the stomach juices react with the food, find it unacceptable, and send it back out by the way of vomit. This may happen even if you are awake. But since you slept off, you may feel like it happened only in your sleep.

Acid Reflux

Another very probable cause of puking in sleep is acid reflux. Acid reflux is a condition in which the food that one ingests is sent back up the food pipe, inflaming and irritating the inner lining esophagus and causing ulceration in it. This can be very uncomfortable and cause other symptoms like heartburn too. Acid reflux is a very good possibility of you waking up to vomiting bouts.

Infant Vomiting in Sleep

If it's your baby that is suffering from this phenomenon, then the cause is probably that he has developed gas in his stomach or has had too much milk to drink. So, he throws out the excess milk by vomiting it. Make sure to burp the baby once you're done feeding him.

How to Prevent Vomiting While Sleeping?

The causes mentioned above may or may not be responsible for your vomiting spells. But there are some precautions that you can take to get some respite from this harrowing experience.
  • The first thing that you can do to get rid of waking up in the middle of the night with the smell and taste of vomit in your nose and mouth is to make sure that you stay away from foods that do not suit you. Greasy, spicy, and oily foods top this list!
  • Next thing, sleep at least 3-4 hours after eating your food. Sometimes, probably, the short gap between the meal and the sleeping time can make the food churn and come up into the food pipe.
  • You can also try to change your sleeping position. Try to sleep atilt. This means try to sleep in a position that is slightly slanting, not completely straight.
  • You may also want to try out some natural remedies for acid reflux. They can help soothe the inflammation and ease the vomiting if it is indeed caused due to acid reflux.
  • Another thing that you should keep in mind is that alcohol and caffeine can worsen this problem. So, cut down on their consumption to get some relief.

If your problem of vomiting while sleeping continues for more than a couple of days even after you've tried different ways to get rid of it, make sure you consult a doctor. It is an unusual phenomenon and can lead to conditions like aspiration pneumonia too. So, take care and get yourself treated soon!