smiling bearded man wearing vr headset touching a hologram

Will VR Make Me Feel Sick?

VR is all the rage, and with millions of headsets flying off of store shelves, more people are experiencing the wonder of this new technology for the first time. More people are also asking:

Fact is, the vast majority of VR users experience virtual reality without issue. Even those who do experience a bit of motion sickness tend to feel better shortly after, by taking small breaks, or by avoiding games and apps that can be triggering (i.e. roller coasters).

graphics of a sitting man holding both hands up while wearing vr headset


Motion sickness in VR is caused by a disconnect between what your brain perceives, and what it’s actually experiencing. This can be exacerbated when motion blur or judder is introduced, such as when frame rates are low.

But don’t let that keep you from enjoying VR! There are plenty of options to prevent motion-related discomfort and several things you can try to avoid feeling sick.

That said if your vertigo or motion sickness is more of a mild discomfort rather than a prohibitive hurdle, your best option might be to just tough it out. Try not to move around much in the game with motion controllers, as even small movements can cause big problems.

However, it is always important to never force yourself through an experience you don't enjoy. VR is loads of fun, but forcing yourself to tolerate motion sickness is not only bad for your health, but it’ll probably turn you off from trying other VR experiences. Considering we’re at the very early stages of this incredible technology, we’d hate to see you miss out.

Tips to Avoid VR Sickness or Reduce Symptoms

There are a few things you can do to overcome motion sickness in VR. These include:

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Taking lots of breaks when you first experience VR. At the time you start feeling sick, take a break from VR and do something else for a while. This will give your body a chance to rest and recover.

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If the discomfort is more severe, you may want to quickly close your eyes and take a break from VR to help your brain recalibrate. Closing your eyes can also help if the world around you seems off-balance or disorienting.

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If you think something might be wrong with the hardware or software of your VR device, try restarting the experience and see if it helps. Sometimes, this can make all the difference. Again, make sure you're using a seated VR experience if you're using an Oculus Rift.

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If you're getting really uncomfortable, try taking the headset off for a few minutes and give your brain some time to reset itself. You can always restart the experience once you feel better if that doesn't work. Once your symptoms subside, make sure you wash your hands before putting the mask back on. You don't want to risk getting sick again.

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Drinking loads of water. Dehydration can worsen symptoms of motion sickness, so make sure you drink plenty of water when using VR.

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This may not be possible in every VR experience, but you can close your eyes for a few seconds to block out the motion and give your body a chance to recover.

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Changing the Field of View (FOV): Lower FOV settings (i.e., 90 degrees instead of 110) reduce the amount that you see movement in VR, which may help reduce symptoms of motion sickness.

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Using VR with a friend! If you're experiencing VR sickness, try using your VR setup with a friend who can help guide you through the experience. The presence of another person may make it easier for your body to adjust to virtual reality.

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Changing the headset display mode from low persistence to high persistence may also help reduce motion sickness.

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Reposition the headset so it is further away from your eyes, or adjust the IPD setting.

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If you experience persistent or increasing VR side effects, consider increasing the time between when the headset moves and when the display updates. This can be done by adjusting your display mode and/or software timing settings as follows:

Display Mode: Try using the “low persistence” display mode.
Timing: Lower the Software Timing setting to 30 Hz (from 60 Hz).

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If all else fails and you find yourself feeling sick while playing more intense games, it might help to play games that are slower-paced.

white oculus quest vr headset

With some of these tips and tricks, the risk of getting motion sickness
might be reduced and you can enjoy yourself heaps more!

What Causes Motion Sickness in VR

There are a few different things that can cause motion sickness in VR. The mismatch between what you see and what you feel is at the crux of the problem. When your eyes tell your brain that you're moving, but your body doesn't feel like it's moving, your brain can become more confused than you were in algebra class and it might cause you to feel ‘off’, dizzy or motion sick.

In addition, the stimulation of conflicting sensory organs occurs when you see something moving but don't feel it, or when the movement is too fast for your brain to process.

The feeling of being in an enclosed space can also make you feel sick. This often happens when the virtual world doesn’t match the real world, such as when you’re looking down and see your feet still in the real world. This can be disorienting and make you feel sick.

Motion sickness in VR is like motion sicknesses in real life, such as if you’re reading in the backseat of a moving car, when your eyes tell your brain that you’re moving but your body doesn’t feel like it’s moving, which causes nausea or dizziness.

How long does VR sickness last?

The good news is that VR sickness will usually go away within seconds to minutes after you take off the headset or stop playing. VR sickness can sometimes last for a few minutes before it goes away or gets better, so its good practice to have a chair or place to sit and a glass of water nearby to stay hydrated. However, those who are sensitive may find that it takes longer to recover.

That said, some people do experience side effects that last longer than others. In addition, the more time you spend in VR, the more likely you are to become motion sick and the longer the motion sickness will last.

If you’ve been playing for a long time and notice nausea lasting more than a few hours after taking off the headset, it might be a good idea to consult your doctor before continuing to use VR.

Oculus Quest 2 motion
Sickness Settings

Finding the right settings for your Oculus Quest might help you avoid motion sickness

There are two motion sickness settings on the Oculus Quest – “Make me feel sick” and “Don’t make me feel sick”.

You may need to experiment with these settings to find the one that works best for you.

If you’re experiencing motion sickness, you can reduce your nausea by changing your display mode or software timing settings in the Oculus UI menu. You can also adjust these settings using the Oculus app on your phone.

Follow these steps to change your VR settings:

  1. Open the Oculus app on your phone.

  2. Go to Settings > Devices > Run Full Setup.

  3. Follow the step-by-step instructions on the screen.

If you want to make sure that you feel comfortable when playing games, change the Oculus Quest 2 motion sickness settings before launching new games or experiences.

Getting the Most Out of Your VR Experience

– probably not, but if it does, there’s things to help

We hope you found this guide helpful. Although most people use VR without issue, some of us do experience a bit of motion sickness, dizziness or vertigo, especially when playing certain games or apps. If that sounds like you, follow the tips we provided to help prevent and/or ease these symptoms so you can enjoy VR with the rest of us.

woman lying down while looking through a vr headset