Have you ever felt dizzy during a busy day at your desk at work? If so, you’re not alone. Many people find they feel dizzy, lightheaded or nauseous at their desk, especially after long hours of intense work.
Common causes of dizziness at your desk
Sometimes there may be underlying medical reasons for your dizziness, but oftentimes, something in the workplace may be causing your dizziness and nausea. Common causes of dizziness at your desk include:
- Focusing on your computer monitor for long periods of time
- Shifting your eyes (and work) between multiple monitors
- Being too close when looking at a large computer screen
- Switching between screens frequently—laptop, phone, tablet
- Working under lighting that flickers (whether you see the flicker or not) or is too dim or too bright
- Consuming too much caffeine
If your dizziness is associated with working on your computer, we have some tips that can help:
Ask for an ergonomic checkup.
Many businesses offer their employees ergonomic evaluations of their workspace and accessories that can help prevent muscle strain, eye strain and repetitive use injuries. Your dizziness could be due to poor posture and muscle tightness. When we sit at our desks using our computers for long periods of time, even when we start off with good posture, we have a tendency to hunch over to get closer to the screen and raise our shoulders as we type. Our head and neck often end up in positions that can cause muscle tightness and strains that can lead to pain, headaches and dizziness.
If your company doesn’t offer ergonomic evaluations, take time to assess your posture in relation to chair height, desk height and computer and monitor positions. Adjust your workspace accordingly to help you stay in proper form and see if there are accessories available through your work that can help—like an adjustable platform for your monitors.
You might also consider making an appointment with an eye doctor to make sure a change in vision or eye health isn’t contributing to your symptoms.
Take breaks or posture check-ins.
Set your alarm on your cellphone or smartwatch if you need reminders to take quick breaks. You may not be able to walk away from your desk, but you can take a few minutes to stand up, stretch out, look out at something outside of your workspace. Schedule these short breaks at least once every hour and, when you sit back down, make sure your posture is optimally aligned with your chair and desktop. If you spend long hours looking at a computer screen, be sure to look up and out to refocus your eyes on something off in the distance for at least 10 seconds or more. Do this regularly throughout the day.
That’s right, breathe. When we’re stressed or intensely focused on something, like a project at work, our breathing can become more shallow and some people even hold their breath without realizing it. Breathe mindfully throughout the day. If you feel your shoulders tightening or rising, breathe deeply and relax. If your head starts feeling tense as if a headache is coming on, take four seconds to inhale and four seconds to exhale and repeat five times to reset your breathing back to normal and get needed oxygen back through your body and brain.
Adjust your lighting.
Office lighting is a common contributor to headaches, dizziness and eye strain. Fluorescent lighting is known for triggering headaches and dizziness because of its flicker rate. Most of us know the flicker of a dying or loose fluorescent bulb, but that flicker is always there. When the light is functioning properly, our eyes may not see the flicker but our brain can pick up on it. See if you can bring in a desk or table lamp from home and have someone turn off the fluorescent light over your desk. (This can be done simply by twisting the bulbs until they go off.)
Working in a dark space or room while looking at a bright computer screen can also cause headaches and dizziness. Other lighting may be too bright or too dim or a color that triggers a reaction. Light sensitivity can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition, so be sure to talk to your doctor as well, especially if you’re experiencing frequent dizziness.
Prevent and Relieve Dizziness with Dramamine®-N.
Dramamine®-N Long Lasting Formula helps provide up to 24 hours of prevention and relief from dizziness, nausea and vomiting. It’s the same brand you trust for motion sickness relief, formulated to prevent and treat nausea and dizziness from everyday activities like working at your desk. Check with your doctor first to see if it’s right for you.