Have you ever been watching a movie – whether in the theater or in the comfort of your own home – and suddenly your tummy felt a bit queasy? Or maybe your head began to pound and your forehead started to perspire? One time I was watching “The Perfect Storm” while running on the treadmill and I just about lost my cookies right there. Ah yes, the things one will sacrifice to look at George Clooney . . .
If you’re like me and have felt that way (I mean nauseous, not about George), or like many recent moviegoers who saw the recent blockbuster action film “Cloverfield,” you may have experienced an unanticipated side effect: motion sickness.
Normally experienced aboard a moving vehicle, such as a boat or car, it can also happen when watching a movie filmed with a shaky camera—tricking the brain into thinking the body is moving and sending your system into unpleasant upheaval. Headaches, nausea, dizziness, sweating, and yes, vomiting, are all common symptoms of motion sickness.
If you’re prone to motion sickness but don’t want to limit your movie options, non-prescription medications such as Dramamine and Bonine, taken in advance, can help reduce or even eliminate your symptoms. But they also have negative side effects, including sleepiness, that are less than ideal when you’re trying to watch a movie. You may want to try these tips instead:
Don’t go to the theater on an empty stomach. Making the decision to avoid food is a bad move: if you’re hungry when motion sickness sets in, your stomach is unstable and more likely to become upset by strong smells or other motion sickness triggers. Eat a light meal beforehand.
Don’t fill up on movie snacks. Greasy buttered popcorn is a bad idea, as is eating a lot of sugary, chocolaty treats—both can upset your stomach and make motion sickness feel even worse. Get your popcorn without the butter, and pace yourself with all snacks so you don’t fill up before the previews are over.
Do trade soda and tea for H20. Even a small amount of soda and tea can aad to dehydration—which can also make you more likely to experience motion sickness. Quench your thirst with a bottle of water instead.
Do take some ginger. Ginger has been shown to be effective in preventing mild to moderate cases of nausea. Take gingerroot in capsule form, or drink a cup of ginger tea before you head to the movies. In case of emergency, buy a bag of ginger candy and take them with you.
If you know that you’re prone to motion sickness, do yourself (and your fellow moviegoers) a favor and take an aisle seat near the exit, just in case your symptoms worsen and you have to get up and get some fresh air!