VR Motion Sickness review

What Causes VR Motion Sickness and How to Overcome It

Zornitsa Vuteva 2 months ago 0 16

Experiencing VR for the first time may be exciting, however many miss out on the fact that there’s a possibility they’re sensible to motion sickness when using this type of technology. Even those who have spent more time using the VR headset could suffer from this condition when viewing a lot of movement. Their brain feels confused as the body itself is rather still.

That’s why we’ve dedicated this article to helping you overcome motion sickness in VR and implement the recommended practices for reducing the risk of experiencing this unpleasant side effect.

Key Takeaways

  • VR motion sickness is caused by factors such as hormonal differences, wide field of view, and depth cue recognition.
  • To overcome VR motion sickness, take regular breaks, keep cool, gradually increase VR time, and consider medication if needed.
  • Alleviate VR motion sickness by pacing sessions, resting during breaks, adjusting playtime, using a fan, and ensuring a proper headset fit.
  • Optimize the VR experience for comfort by adjusting settings, sitting down for stability, avoiding heavy meals, and staying hydrated.

What is VR motion sickness?

VR motion sickness is a condition that can occur when using virtual reality technology and is characterized by symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, headaches, sweating, fatigue, eye strain, and a sense of imbalance. These symptoms can be quite unpleasant and may last for several hours, even after you have stopped using the VR headset.

It’s important to note that different individuals have varying levels of susceptibility to VR sickness. For example, women tend to be more prone to experiencing nausea in VR, possibly due to hormonal differences, wider field of view, or gender variations in depth cue recognition. Additionally, age can also play a role, as research suggests that adults aged 50 and above are more likely to experience VR sickness compared to younger users.

What impacts the occurrence of motion sickness in VR?

The occurrence of motion sickness in VR is influenced by several factors, including the type of headset and tracking used, latency, unfamiliar eye motion, and postural instability.

The type of headset and tracking can play a significant role in whether someone will experience motion sickness. Headsets with 3-degrees of freedom (3DoF) tracking are limited in movement, leading to disorientation and imbalance. On the other hand, headsets with 6-degrees of freedom (6DoF) tracking provide users with more freedom of movement, reducing motion sickness.

Latency, the delay in movement registration, also contributes to motion sickness. Faster displays with lower latency are being developed to decrease this issue. Unfamiliar eye motion required to stabilize the virtual scene on the retina can also contribute to motion sickness.

Postural instability plays a role in motion sickness in VR. The body tries to find balance in a new environment, leading to postural instability and potential motion sickness. However, with time and experience, the body can adapt to postural instability in VR, reducing motion sickness symptoms.

How to deal with VR motion sickness?

To deal with VR motion sickness, you can try the following set of strategies:

Take breaks

To mitigate VR motion sickness, it’s important to take regular breaks during your sessions. Just as it’s important to pace yourself when entering VR for the first time, it’s crucial to pace your sessions realistically.

Most VR devices have a recommended playtime, ranging from 15 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the device. If a game makes you feel queasy, start by limiting your play sessions to just a few minutes at a time. When you start feeling uncomfortable, shut your eyes, take deep breaths, and take a short break before trying again.

Keep yourself cool

Using a fan to keep yourself cool while playing VR can help reduce discomfort and prevent sweating inside the headset. Some users have reported that having a fan blowing towards them increases air circulation, which can help alleviate any symptoms of motion sickness that may arise.

Not only will staying cool make you more comfortable during your VR experience, but it can also help prevent the buildup of heat and moisture inside the headset, which can contribute to feelings of nausea and discomfort.

Use medication

If you’re experiencing motion sickness while using VR, one option to consider is using medication to alleviate the symptoms. Dramamine is a medicine that can help prevent motion sickness, including that caused by virtual reality. It’s available in different forms, like pills and chewable tablets, and it’s sold under various brand names.

There’s even a version of Dramamine that provides 24-hour protection against nausea, which makes it suitable for avid gamers who like to play for long periods of time. By taking medication, you can reduce the symptoms of motion sickness and enjoy your virtual reality experience without feeling sick.

Remember to follow the instructions and consult with a healthcare professional before using any special medication.

Move more

To alleviate VR motion sickness, try incorporating more physical movement into your virtual reality experience, as it can help trick your mind into feeling more comfortable with the virtual environment. You can start by using software-based solutions that encourage movement, such as games that require you to physically duck, dodge, or jump. Consider standing up and walking around the room as you explore the virtual world.

This can provide your body with a sense of motion that aligns with what you’re seeing in the virtual reality headset. Remember to start slowly and gradually increase your movement to avoid any potential discomfort.

Wear a Sea-Band

If you’re looking for an alternative method to combat VR motion sickness, consider wearing a Sea-Band – these are wristbands that apply pressure to the Nei-Kuan point in your wrist, which is believed to reduce motion sickness.

Although mainly targeted towards travelers, VR users have also found success with these bands. You can purchase Sea-Bands and similar products online or at most drug stores. The pressure applied by the bands helps to alleviate the symptoms of motion sickness, including nausea and dizziness, making them a popular choice for those who experience discomfort while using virtual reality devices.

Ways to prevent or reduce VR motion sickness

There are different approaches to preventing VR motion sickness from happening or at least lowering its impact on your VR experience.

Make sure the headset fits properly

A poorly fitting headset can result in a blurry and disorienting experience in virtual reality. When the headset isn’t securely on your head, your brain has to work harder to interpret what it sees and experiences, leading to discomfort and motion sickness.

Before entering a VR experience, make sure the lenses are adjusted for a clear image. Additionally, if you wear glasses, use the spacer that often comes with VR headsets. This will allow you to wear your glasses comfortably while in VR, ensuring that you have a better fit and reducing the chances of experiencing motion sickness.

Adjust settings

If you find yourself getting nauseous while using VR, try the following – lower the graphics quality and adjust the settings to decrease the speed and acceleration of movements in the virtual environment. By doing this, you can make the experience smoother and less disorienting, which can help alleviate motion sickness.

Additionally, sensory overload can contribute to feeling sick. Lowering the brightness of the headset can reduce the sensory input and allow your equilibrium to adjust more easily. Take the time to experiment with different settings and find what works best for you.

Sit down

Sitting down can provide a stable base and minimize the sensations of movement that can trigger motion sickness. By remaining seated, you can maintain a consistent position and reduce the likelihood of experiencing disorientation or discomfort. This position helps to ground you in reality and prevents conflicting signals between your visual and vestibular systems.

When you sit, your body is in a more relaxed state, allowing you to focus more on the virtual environment without feeling overwhelmed. Also, sitting down can make it easier to take breaks and rest if you start to feel any symptoms of motion sickness. So, find a comfortable chair or stool, and enjoy your VR experience while minimizing the chances of feeling sick.

Slowly increase the time spent in VR

As you become more accustomed to virtual reality, your body will adjust and become accustomed to the sensory input, resulting in a reduction or elimination of motion sickness.

Start by spending 5 minutes every few days for one week. Then, increase to 10 minutes twice a week the following week, and so on. Over the course of a few weeks, aim to reach 15 minutes at a time. By following this gradual approach, you should no longer experience motion sickness while using VR.

Avoid eating beforehand and stay hydrated

Consuming heavy or greasy foods before using VR can increase the chances of experiencing motion sickness. Instead, opt for light and easily digestible meals.

The golden rule of staying hydrated applies to VR use, too. Make sure to drink plenty of water before and during your VR experience. Dehydration can exacerbate motion sickness symptoms, so keeping yourself hydrated can help mitigate the effects.


VR motion sickness can be a challenge for many users, but there are ways to overcome it. Understanding the causes of VR motion sickness is crucial in finding ways to prevent and overcome this discomforting condition. To prevent or reduce VR motion sickness, you need to ensure that the headset fits properly on your head to minimize discomfort. Additionally, adjusting the settings, such as the field of view or motion intensity, can help tailor the experience to your comfort level. By gradually increasing exposure to VR, taking breaks, and using motion sickness remedies, such as medication, users can minimize the discomfort.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can VR Motion Sickness Occur in All Virtual Reality Experiences?

Yes, the immersive nature of VR can cause your brain to become disoriented, leading to symptoms like nausea and dizziness.

Are Certain Individuals More Prone to Experiencing VR Motion Sickness?

Factors such as a history of motion sickness, sensitivity to visual stimuli, and the type of VR experience can all contribute to the likelihood of experiencing symptoms.

Is There a Specific Age Group That Is More Susceptible to VR Motion Sickness?

Folks over 50 are more likely to experience VR motion sickness, however younger people can also suffer from this condition.

Can VR Motion Sickness Be Completely Eliminated, or Is It Always Present to Some Degree?

With proper techniques and adjustments, you can overcome it to a great extent, but there’s no such thing as a one-time fix for this issue.

Are There Any Long-Term Effects of Experiencing VR Motion Sickness?

Experiencing VR motion sickness may have long-term effects, such as increased sensitivity to motion and dizziness. However, with proper techniques like taking breaks and gradually increasing exposure, you can overcome these effects and enjoy VR without discomfort.

Written By

Meet Zornitsa, our Content Manager, specializing in all things VR headsets and innovative VR use cases. With a passion for exploring the latest in virtual reality technology, Zornitsa is your trusted source for expert insights and informative content that will elevate your VR experience.

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