Good sleep after vertigo treatment is very important when it comes to vestibular rehab. I find that patients who do not get good sleep after vertigo treatment do not recover as well.
Take It Easy After Each Vertigo Treatment
I advise my patients to “take the rest of the day off” after each treatment session, if possible. We discuss that they need to clear their schedule for the rest of the day.
That specifically means no cooking, no chores, no working, no computer time, no driving, and no other appointments after each vestibular physical therapy treatment. That way they can take a nap after the treatment if they need to rest. Also, resting can de-escalate symptoms that are heightened after treatment.
However, I do not advise them about napping either way. I only attempt to create the space in their schedule after each treatment, that will allow them to nap if they feel their body needs to rest.
Vestibular Rehab Affects Your Brain
Some people have been holding so much tension from their vertigo that they just fall right to sleep after vertigo treatment. It seems like their brain can finally rest, now that they have gotten some relief from the neurological tension that was caused by vertigo.
Other people may need to rest after treatment due to the exhaustion or fatigue from neurological recalibration that takes place during a vestibular rehab session.
While making house calls, I have seen patients fall asleep right after I get them set up in an upright resting position as we end their treatment session.
They may be asleep even before I even manage to gather my equipment to get out of their home! One of my patients even started snoring as I was walking out his front door.
Sleep After Vertigo Treatment: It’s Important
I also discuss with the patients that sleep after vertigo treatment is very important. I tell them they will not recover as quickly from the vestibular treatment if they do not get a good night’s sleep that night.
Many people experience a “hangover effect” after a vestibular physical therapy treatment. I have observed that the vestibular hangover effect will usually last longer if they do not have a good sleep for their brain to reset after each treatment.
To explain this idea, I use the analogy of holding down the power button on your computer to make a “hard reset,” when your computer is malfunctioning. After each treatment session, I believe that their brain needs deep sleep for a “hard reset of the neurological system” to recover from their vertigo.
Strategies For Deep Sleep
If they historically are a “good sleeper,” then I encourage them to go to bed on time and not to stay up late. They should carry on as usual with their good sleeping ability.
If they do not usually sleep well, we discuss strategies to improve their sleep hygiene.
We may discuss some teas or supplements they like to use to help them sleep after vertigo treatment. The goal is to use relaxing teas like chamomile or supplements to help them sleep deeply that night.
To add to that, watching a good comedy movie or sitcom or chatting with a funny friend might be just what the doctor ordered before bed.
Vertigo can disrupt sleeping especially when you roll over, so you may need to sleep propped up. Whether you need to sleep propped up on two pillows or you are able to sleep as usual with only one pillow depends on your individual situation. Your vestibular health care provider may be able to help you figure out which position is best to sleep in.
Recovering from vertigo may take longer if you are not sleeping well after each treatment. You may need to consult with a sleep medicine doctor for medical intervention if you are having trouble with sleeping.
Spending All Day In Bed Can Affect Sleep Quality At Night
Some people with vertigo spend a lot of time in bed during the day because they feel so bad. However, spending too much time in bed during the day can reduce sleep quality at night.
For those people, I like to implement a plan to create a “cozy nest” somewhere else in their house for them to rest in during the day until they start feeling better. Then their bed is then only used for sleeping, which can improve sleep quality at night.
The long-term goal of vestibular therapy is for patients to gradually become more active during the day, not needing so much time to rest or stay sedentary as their symptoms clear up.
I have many patients who no longer need to nap in the afternoon once their vertigo is cleared up because their extreme fatigue has cleared up also.
I hope that information is helpful on the importance of sleep after vertigo treatment! I’m happy that I was able to bring this important topic to your attention.
This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.