Some bodily phenomena make sense. An ice cream headache, for example — you know what you did to get there, you know you deserved it, and you have absolutely no regrets. Others are a bit of a mystery, like when you stand up quickly and see a dizzying array of stars.
The good news is, a sudden bout of lightheadedness from jumping out of your seat probably isn't a big deal. But there are certain signs you should look out for that might indicate a more serious issue. Here are some common causes of that familiar head-spinning sensation:
1. You've been working out.
You may know that athletes have lower resting heart rates; that's because in general, exercise makes your heart stronger, allowing it to pump out more blood in less beats. This is usually a great thing because it means your heart is strong, but the slow pace can also be a common cause of dizziness when you go from intense cardio action to your post-workout rest phase. Consider a longer cool-down to ease the transition.
2. You're not eating enough.
If you've been subsisting on juice or other non-chewable sustenance...quit it. Low blood sugar is one surefire way to get dizzy (and just generally feel like utter garbage), so stop skipping meals, and make sure you eat a healthy meal or snack every few hours.
3. Your blood pressure is too low.
Whether you realize it or not, in the split second it takes to stand up, blood from your brain travels down toward your feet, all thanks to a little thing called gravity. That blood doesn't get pumped back up to your noggin until the next heartbeat, so if your pulse is extra slow for any reason (the aforementioned athleticism, age, medication and other things can all play a role), you might routinely feel woozy when you get up. Try moving slower when you transition from seated to standing and see if that helps.
4. You're too thirsty.
Another major reason you might feel lightheaded when you stand has to do with your hydration levels. If you're not taking in enough water, your blood flow may slow down and take your blood pressure down with it. Check your urine: If it's tinged with a dark yellow, pink or orange tone, it's time to stop what you're doing and drink some H20.
5. You're overheating.
High temperatures or too-intense workouts can also cause dizziness by causing you to lose fluid through excessive sweating. Heat stroke can be serious, so if you suspect you're overheating, immediately get to a cooler setting and consider seeking medical attention.
6. You have problems with your inner ear.
There's a difference between a slight sense of dizziness and a major case of the spins. If you feel like the room is spinning even once you've stayed stationary for a moment, you might have an inner ear issue called vertigo. This can also be a big deal, so contact a doctor right away if you suspect this is what you're experiencing.
The bottom line is that the occasional bout of dizziness is probably nothing to worry about, but if you're experiencing something more severe than a slight sensation or you're feeling lightheaded when you're just sitting, make an appointment with a doctor ASAP so they can assess any serious medical problems.