How to Sleep with Altitude Sickness: A Comprehensive Guide

Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), is a condition that can occur when you travel to high altitudes. Symptoms of altitude sickness include headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness and shortness of breath. These symptoms can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips on how to sleep with altitude sickness.

Understanding Altitude Sickness

Before we go into the details of how to manage altitude sickness while sleeping, let us first understand what it is and why it occurs. Altitude sickness occurs when your body does not adapt well enough to the reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels at higher altitudes. This leads to a decrease in the amount of oxygen reaching vital organs such as the brain and lungs.

There are three types of altitude sickness: acute mountain sickness (AMS), high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE). AMS is the most common type of altitude illness, affecting people who ascend quickly above 8,000 feet or 2,400 meters above sea level.


The symptoms of AMS usually appear within hours or days after ascending rapidly above 8,000 feet or 2,400 meters. Symptoms may include:

– Headache
– Nausea
– Vomiting
– Loss of appetite
– Fatigue or weakness
– Dizziness or lightheadedness
– Difficulty sleeping

If these symptoms progress into shortness of breath at rest or exertion; coughing up frothy sputum; confusion; clumsiness; difficulty walking; severe headache that doesn’t respond to pain medication – then immediate medical attention is required.

Tips for Sleeping with Altitude Sickness

Sleeping at high altitudes can be challenging due to various reasons such as low oxygen levels, cold temperatures, and unfamiliar surroundings. Here are some tips to help you sleep better with altitude sickness:

Acclimatize Slowly

One of the best ways to avoid altitude sickness is to acclimatize slowly. This means ascending at a gradual pace, allowing your body time to adjust to the lower oxygen levels. If possible, spend a day or two at an intermediate elevation before reaching your final destination.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can make AMS symptoms worse, so it’s essential to drink plenty of fluids when at high altitudes. Drinking water helps keep your blood volume up and increases the delivery of oxygen to vital organs.

Avoid Alcohol and Sleeping Pills

Alcohol and sleeping pills depress breathing and may exacerbate symptoms of AMS by further reducing the amount of oxygen inhaled during sleep.

Sleep on Your Side

Sleeping on your side can help reduce breathlessness while sleeping since it promotes more efficient ventilation than sleeping on your back or stomach. In addition, elevating your head with pillows can help reduce headaches caused by AMS.


In conclusion, altitude sickness can be challenging for many people who travel above 8,000 feet or 2,400 meters above sea level quickly. However following these tips discussed in this blog post will not only increase chances that acclimation occurs quicker but also improve their quality of sleep during their stay thereby helping them enjoy their vacation better!