How to Cure Feeling Like You're About to Faint

Three Parts:Preventing a Fainting EpisodePreventing Recurring Fainting EpisodesCaring for Yourself after a Fainting Episode

Feeling five seconds away from unconsciousness is rarely a fun feeling. It can be pretty terrifying when the world around you becomes disorienting, your vision starts to go, and you can’t really keep your head up. Your body is telling you it’s not getting enough blood to your heart and brain, and it needs to shut down to catch up. Fortunately, you can give it the right boost it needs to avoid the shutdown and keep you standing tall.

Part 1
Preventing a Fainting Episode

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    If you can, lay down. When you feel like you’re about to faint, it’s because there’s not enough blood getting to your brain. Even just a few seconds of this can bring on a fainting spell.[1] Combat gravity’s effect on your body by laying down and getting your blood not pooling in your core or legs, sending it back to your heart and brain.
    • It’s best to do this on the ground, if possible. That way, if you do faint, you don’t run the risk of rolling off the surface you’re on and hurting yourself.
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    If you can’t lay down, sit down with your knees up, and put your head between your legs. If you’re in a situation where you’re not in an open area or you’re in public and can’t lay down, sitting with your head between your knees may be the best thing you can do to get rid of that nasty faint-y feeling. You may wish to stay in this position until the dizziness goes away.
    • Again, this is all about redirecting the blood to your head. When it’s lower and on the same plane as the rest of your body, your blood pressure stabilizes, your body relaxes, and the feeling that you’re about to faint dissipates.
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    Drink water, sports drinks, or juices. If you’re perfectly healthy otherwise, it’s possible that this feeling is due to dehydration. As soon as possible, drink up that glass of a tasty, uncaffeinated drink. The “uncaffeinated” part is the important bit here – caffeine dehydrates you, defeating the purpose of the drink!
    • Water is fine, but it lacks salt and electrolytes. If possible, go for a low-calorie sports drink or juice to start feeling better.
    • A small blast of sugar will be useful for your brain to spike your glucose and keep you revved and not shutting down. Because of this (and the lack of salt), plain water isn’t always best.[2]
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    Eat something salty. As mentioned before, many fainting episodes are due to dehydration, and eating something salty can actually help that. It sounds a little nonsensical, but it turns out that salt actually draws out water from your stomach and gets it circulating in your body. So grab a bag of pretzels and then go lay down ndash; or better yet, get someone to do it for you.
    • If you’re watching your salt intake for other reasons, this may not be the best idea. Instead, go for some unsalted crackers or toast – nothing that runs the risk of making you nauseated. And, of course, avoid the salty, fried goods, like potato chips. Stick to healthier salty snacks, like nuts or pretzels.
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    Take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth to keep calm and relaxed. Fainting, or even just feeling like you’re about to faint, can be quite stressful. To keep your blood pressure and anxiety levels down, concentrate on your breathing. It’ll lower your heart rate and relax your body, centering it on the here and now.
    • Sometimes fainting is the result of being nervous. The vagus nerve mixes up with the brain, something triggers a reaction, and all of a sudden your blood pressure is dropping. Do you know someone who faints at the sight of blood or upon getting an injection? It’s just a reaction their body has, and part of it has to do with being anxious.

Part 2
Preventing Recurring Fainting Episodes

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    Eat regularly. Thinking of skipping breakfast? Don’t do it. Your body needs the salt and sugar to keep you standing up. In fact, if you keep your blood pressure and glucose levels stable, barring any other outlying physical condition, normal syncope (fainting) is completely avoidable. To keep your body firing as normal, eating (and drinking) regularly may be all you have to do.
    • That being said, some people do suffer from postprandial hypotension, which can lead to fainting. That’s a fancy word for your blood pressure dropping after you eat too much. Your blood starts congregating in and around your stomach, leaving none for your heart and brain – and voila, the perfect recipe for a fainting spell. If this sounds familiar, eat regularly, but don’t eat too much at one time.[3]
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    Avoid excess fatigue. Another reason some people experience fainting spells is because they’re overly fatigued. It could be because you’re not sleeping enough or you exercise too much – both states can mess with your blood pressure and get your body off-kilter.
    • If you’re exercising too much, you may not be getting enough liquids either (you’re sweating them all out). Make doubly sure that you drink plenty if this describes you. Between dehydrating and overexertion, you could be asking for trouble.
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    Keep your stress and anxiety levels to a minimum. Some people have triggers when it comes to fainting, and it doesn’t take fainting too many times to figure out what that trigger is. If you know what causes you stress and makes you anxious, avoiding it may be all you have to do.
    • Needles, blood, and even more personal (or more disgusting) topics can bring about the urge to faint. The heart starts pumping profusely, you start sweating, your breathing changes, and all of a sudden you’re down for the count. Can you think of any possible triggers for the way you’re feeling?
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    Stay in comfortable, cool environments. Heat is another culprit when it comes to fainting. It can dehydrate your body, shut down your systems, and spell disaster for vertical consciousness. If you’re in a stuffy, overheated, or crowded room, you may just have to leave. The fresh air will awaken your senses, your blood pressure will rise, and you’ll be back to normal before you know it.
    • Crowds don't generally help. If you know you're going to be in a crowded, stuffy area, prepare by eating a good breakfast, wearing light clothing, bringing a snack, and always knowing where the nearest exit is should you need it.
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    Avoid alcohol. In addition to caffeinated beverages, alcohol should also make the “avoid” list if you’re worried about fainting. It, too, is dehydrating, can lower your blood pressure, and send you to the ground.[4]
    • If you do drink alcohol, stick to one drink a day. And if you haven’t eaten or drunk much that day, be sure to combine that drink with some food and other non-alcoholic beverage.
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    Train your muscles. Sometimes tensing your muscles can stave off a faint. Cross your legs and tense the muscles, squatting if possible. You could also contract the muscles in your arms by clasping your hands together and trying to force them apart. These little movements are all about boosting blood pressure. Even if it doesn’t get rid of the faint, it could give you enough time to get a safe place to lie down.[5]
    • There’s also a thing called “tilt training,” which involves training your muscles over the course of weeks to combat the urge. You simply stand with your back and head against a wall with your heels about 6 inches (15 cm) out from it. Do this for about 5 minutes every other day. Slowly increase the time up to 20-minute sessions. It sounds simple, but this stance can help with the uncrossing of the wires in your brain (the vagus nerve) that lead to fainting.[6]

Part 3
Caring for Yourself after a Fainting Episode

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    Move slowly. Some people experience extreme dizziness upon first getting up in the morning – in part because they get up too quickly. This can happen at any time of day, though it’s most notable when getting out of bed or arising after a long period of time. Whenever you move, be sure to move slowly to give your heart and brain time to adjust for a change in blood flow.
    • This is mainly important when switching from sitting, standing, and lying down. Once you’re up and stable you should be fine; it’s getting up and getting stable that needs to be done carefully.
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    Rest for at least an hour or so after fainting. Don't exercise or take part in serious movement after a fainting episode. This is your body telling you that you need to take it easy, so listen. Have a snack and lay down. You should feel better shortly.
    • If you don’t feel better within a few hours (provided you’re taking good care of yourself, of course), that may be a sign that this is the symptom of a larger problem. In that case, it is very appropriate to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Don’t hesitate to cause a fuss about what is usually a routine issue.
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    Eat and drink something. You won’t start feeling better until your body catches up with you, so give it a boost with something salty and something sweet. As mentioned previously, a bag of pretzels or nuts and some sports drinks or juices are perfect for this – and be sure you finish your glass. Chow down and chug away. Your body needs it.
    • It’s a good idea to keep a snack with you handy if you’re worried about fainting again. What’s more, you could be able to come to the rescue of someone else who’s going through the same thing.
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    Talk to your doctor. If you know the cause of your fainting – it was overly hot, you hadn’t eaten, etc. – it’s probably safe to assume this was just an ordinary fainting episode and something that shouldn’t be alarming. However, if you’re not really sure where it came from, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to pinpoint the issue for you and help you avoid health complications in the future.
    • Review your medications with him or her, too. Some medicines are known to cause symptoms of dizziness, fatigue, dehydration, and fainting.[7] If this is the case, your doctor should be able to provide you with a suitable alternative.


  • When exercising, don't push yourself too hard. Realize your limits, you're only human.
  • If it's severe fainting and you can barely walk, seek medical help immediately.
  • Always fully hydrate before exercising.
  • Make sure to take your time standing up if you have been laying down for a while.


  • Frequent bouts of feeling faint may signify something serious. If you suffer from this fairly frequently, get it checked by a doctor.

Article Info

Categories: Cardiovascular Health and Blood Pressure | Stress Anxiety and Crisis Management