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14 thoughts on “Can Sleep Problems Cause Benign Positional Vertigo?

  1. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea- mostly hypopneas about 4 1/2 years ago. I’ve had BPV 3 times in the last 1 1/2 years that symptoms lasted from 2 – 4 weeks. This last time, it lasted the longest. I was recovering from 2 surgeries in Sept 2010, right CBC (?) joint – (2nd surgery on that area to remove scar tissue), and then left shoulder surgery-bicep tenodesis, SAD, DCE, and multiple tears “shaved”.

    I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia about 14-15 years ago after years of chronic pain. My chief complaint to doctors over the years was lack of energy & all over pain I thought due to poor sleep. I struggle with CPAP; removing the mask almost nightly without remembering and then deciding to not bother to put it back on after multiple wakings so I can get some sleep. This last BPV episode, I was under additional stress – not only from lack of sleep (chronic problem), fibromyalgia, and surgeries, but were also facing our moving my in-laws (whom I love dearly) from another state to where we live. The swirling feeling with head movements lasted probably about 3 weeks, but since that time, I’ve had multiple incidents of light headedness, especially when getting up after doing my shoulder physical therapy or after sleeping which my family doctor says is probably just drop in blood pressure from getting up too fast – which I try not to do. That has eased now this past month however. We have my in-laws moved into their own apartment but they are 87 & 88 so I’m taking them to new doctor appts, and trying to help them sort and unpack, etc. and am their primary “driver” until they are able to get more familiar with the area. So although I still have stress of their caretaking, my hand and shoulder are finally getting to the point of “uncomfortable” but not “painful”. So, your theory of stress related to BPV I believe is a good possibility. And the increased nerve sensitivity, I’ve felt for years that I have with loud noises, a “bump” against a chair that is “painful” and should only be mild discomfort.

    My 1st BPV episode, as I think back probably was work stress related in Aug 09 (I resigned my position in Oct 2009 because of health problems); my 2nd BPV episode – I was facing septoplasty last May 2010 – my own choice to try to help my breathing in hopes it would help me with CPAP compliance. And this 3rd I’ve explained above.

    I am a new subscriber to your website which I found while trying to locate information about oral appliances for mild sleep apnea/hypopnia patients. (Before the septoplasty, I was diagnosed as moderate to moderately severe sleep apnea/hypopnia – so that surgery seems to have helped somewhat. They have lowered my pressure from 7 to 6 but I still struggle with the CPAP mask.

    Sorry for the length of this comment, but thank you for your website & the information you have available. I do plan to get your book soon, just no time to read until I get my inlaws settled.

  2. Dr. Park,

    I found your video very informative. My fiancee has obstructive sleep apnea and it is severe. Recently he has experienced an increase in BPV symptoms, chest pain, sweating as well as mood swings, and many other apnea related symptoms. He has been evaluated by cardiology and found to be fine in that respect. He is about to undergo another sleep study to adjust his CPAP correctly with a new doctor. While I’m glad for all of this, he still has chest pain and BPV symptoms that are fairly constant some days. I have informed him that those are probably related to his apnea, as no other explanation has been found and he’s had thorough testing, but he refuses to believe that BPV or chest pain can be associated with apnea. He’s also gained weight and I think that too has played a part, but he refuses to believe me. Am I wrong about this? His physician tried to explain it to him, but he again refuses to listen. He sleeps constantly, and when not sleeping he is eating. I’m at my wits end about what to do to help him. Any information would be appreciated. Thank you. :)

  3. One morning I got up real quickly after sleeping on my back and all of a sudden got really dizzy. My throat was really dry and I’m sure I had had a bout of sleep apnea just before I woke up. I think a lack of oxygen was the cause of the vertigo. Just a couple of hours earlier I was fine when I woke up to use the bathroom. I’ve been to the doctor since and they took an EKG and checked my blood pressure and the EKG turned out to be normal but my blood pressure was a little high. After a week, I still have a bit of vertigo when I turn to my left side in bed but it is gradually going away. I have been using 2 pillows to keep my head raised and I have been sleeping on my right side and that helps. I will go in to check out my problem with sleep apnea in a couple of weeks and I hope this vertigo never returns.

  4. Do you have any known publications regarding the connection between dizziness and sleep apnea?

  5. Sorry, I’m not aware of any particular article. I think it’s because doctors think that sleep apnea and dizziness are two different conditions.

  6. Dr. Parks, I’m so glad I found your site. I’ve been recently diagnosed with apnea, although I think I’ve had it for the last 10 years or so. During this time I’ve also had 3 boughts with vertigo, each lasting from two to six weeks, and I’ve wondered recently whether the two were related. I’m now on a Cpap machine and will see if that helps with any future vertigo episodes. I’ve also noticed that the vertigo came at periods of stress and heat and wonder if lack of hydration may be contributing as well. Thank you again for your insights.

  7. Dr. Park,

    Thanks for you insights here. In my case, the Vertigo, which lasted for about 6 weeks never fully went away. Now 7 months later, I am having balance issues and trouble focusing due to Nystagmus. I am scheduled for some balance testing and MRI.

    I wanted to tell you that within the lat 2 months or so, I’ve experienced that within the first hour of lying down to sleep–just as I’m almost asleep, I will gasp for air, as though I have just been holding my breath. It is interesting to note that it only happens right as I’m heading into sleep, not when I’ve been sleeping for a while.

    Another symptom after I’ve been lying down is that I have tremors (that appear to be intentional tremors) in my arms/hands. I’ve been experiencing the tremors for about 4 months, but have recently been more curious about what seems to be a type of apnea symptom, and does feel related.

    Your video helped explained that the two may in fact be connected.

  8. I’m really glad I listened to this video on BPV. I have been diagnosed with moderate obstructive airway….now that I know I have this and watched the video on BPV….it occurred to me why I was experiencing bouts of dizziness where I actually could not get off of the couch. I had to lay in a certain position and keep my eyes closed in order to control the spinning room affect. I’m glad to know finally that the cause is most likely associated with my apnea.
    Thank you Dr. Park!

  9. /I started having dizziness last week. I rolled over to to the left to hug my husband in bed and my head started spinning. When I got up a little imbalanced not much, but whenever I would bend down, dizzy, or when i lay down on my couch, my head started spinning. Ive been to doctor. In er bed, got up went to restroom, came back crawled in er bed and my head was spinning when I laid down, terrible. They did an MRI , because I have blood pressure meds I take. I also went to eye doc for glasses a year or so ago, they sent me to a specialist and then to a vitro, oh, forgot the name, but they looked inside my eye and did lazer surgery, said I had a leaky vessel behind my eye, that it wasn’t the worst kind, either arteries or veins, whichever, one of those. Right now as Im typing this, my left ear just was ringing, that happened earlier today also. Anyway, the specialist had me go back several months, and ended up doing lazer surgery on vein again. I have not been ill. The er said I did not have tumor or clot. Blood and urine was fine.
    So, they sent me home with some clariton, still having mild spells after a week. When I read your article, it made sense to me, however, I was trying to figure out which direction to go with mine. Dont know what kind of doc to go to now. My doctor at the clinic is the one who sent me to the er to get quick readings. Do I need a specialist of some kind or can y ou help me or direct me where to start? I My bp tonight was 133/89 and pulse 81. I take 5 mg of generic of norvask. I think I have some stress issues as my son lives with us and has major seizures and also is an alcoholic but dealt with it so long, it seems normal, almost.His seizures came before the problem with alcohol. At around 14, they went from petite mal to tonic clonic, more like epilepsy. We go round and round lots- so thats stressful. My husband works 2nd shift, so I am up sometimes , alot, until 3 or 4 am and up by 9 am daily. What do you think>? I also have snoring and mild splep apnea, didnt like the mask , made me feel uncomfortable, so went to denist as I heard about the mouth guards, only they wont fit me for one until I get my cavites fixed, 1000 dollars worth, so havent been using anything for a few years cuz cant afford dentist bill. Dentist said I really didnt have it just a bit only. Please RSVP. Thank you

  10. Dr. Parks I do think that you are on to something. I have sleep apnea and a week ago, I was particularly exhausted. Upon waking I could tell I had slept especially hard and probably snored more than normal. The next night upon laying down the room spun out of control. I have now had vertigo for about a week. Are these incidences connected. Who knows, but your explanation makes sense to me. I am now on antivert but am still a bit dizzy. I desperately want to get back to my busy life style. However, I feel I do need to mindful of undue stress and exhaustion. What is the answer to getting rid of vertigo? Does Antivert work? Will I have to have the Epley manuever done every time? Can I do it on myself at home?

  11. I had BPV experience for first and only time 6 weeks after starting CPAP therapy 5 years ago. Dreamt I was calling 911 and woke out of sleep with spins. Episodes for 3 days straight in morning after waking. Was in a different bed and pillow arrangement, flatter than normal. No episodes after returning to my bed and my normal sleep posture.

  12. You are on to something. This could be caffeine induced also. I am perfectly healthy but awaiting a prison sentence so…. stress and mild sinusitis for me induces the hypersensitivity. First BPV today.

  13. I just found this! I DO think you are on to something. I have been diagnosed with and treated for BBPV and each time it reoccurs, the professionals are surprised – because they think it should be resolved with the maneuvers with which I have been treated. However, I also have sleep apnea (for which a CPAP was intolerable and am now being fitted for an advanced mandibular device). I also have neck issues which got so bad that I needed ACDF surgery. What I notice is that when I have symptoms of vertigo – I also feel a lot of tightness and pinching in my neck muscles. And my sleep quality, already questionable, is further disturbed. So I believe it is a vicious cycle. There never seems to be a particular trigger. If you have more thoughts or want study participants, please do not hesitate to be in touch. Much thanks for your thoughts and quite frankly your honestly. I have long felt like this was something I was “doing wrong.” Especially in the discussion of “ear stones.”