We’ve all been told that good quality sleep can never be underestimated. And you’d be surprised to learn how much your sleeping position can affect not only your time asleep, but the way you feel once you awake. Although there are disadvantages to all of the most common sleeping positions, there’s one with virtually no downside — zero gravity.
In short, it involves raising the head and knee line slightly above your heart, positioning the torso and legs so they form roughly a 120-degree angle. And yes, it draws inspiration from going into space! Just like our well-known friend memory foam, the “Zero-G” posture was invented by NASA. When astronauts prepare to launch, they recline into this neutral position to equalize the pressure they’ll experience during rapid changes in gravitational force.
When it comes to sleep or relaxation, the zero gravity position essentially saves your body from the pressure of its own weight. Your spine’s vertebrae are no longer compressed, your hips are relieved of tension and your raised knees take the pressure off of your lower back. Achieving this posture can result in a myriad of benefits for your overall health and wellbeing. Plus, it’s convenient enough to let you be productive while still in bed, which in our book, is never a bad thing.
We’re glad you asked. This neutral posture has the power to relax many parts of the body, including the skeletal system and major organs. Therefore, it can improve your quality of sleep in several ways.
When you lie flat on your back, the soft tissues in the very back of your throat or excess fat around the neck can partially obstruct your airway, causing vibrations when air tries to pass through. By elevating the head and upper body, that obstruction is relieved, allowing your airway to open back up for improved breathing and reduced snoring.
When in zero-G position, reduced pressure on the heart and elevated legs means your body is able to circulate blood much more efficiently, and with less effort.
As many of us know, food passes more easily through the esophagus and into the stomach when the head is in an upright position. And what about that acid reflux and heartburn? They’re kept at bay too, thanks to gravity’s pull which keeps pesky stomach acids from bubbling up into the esophagus.
A result of excess fluid buildup from pressurized blood vessels, swelling is especially common in the legs, ankles and feet. By reclining into zero gravity, you can reduce the stress on those areas, allowing that fluid to distribute more evenly throughout the body.
While in zero-G, the spine is put into a neutral position that can relieve tension that causes back pain. Pressure is distributed evenly between the individual vertebrae and spinal muscles, helping to lessen soreness and discomfort.
If you’re pregnant or have been in the past, it’s likely that at least some of the symptoms above sound familiar. Hormonal and physical changes to the body during those nine months can make comfortable sleep a challenge, so taking advantage of a zero gravity position makes complete sense. Plus, if you’re accustomed to sleeping on your back pre-pregnancy, zero gravity lets you modify that position into one that’s safer for both mom and baby.
From catching up on emails to binge-watching your latest obsession, there are lots of activities that can be done while sitting in zero gravity. Your head is optimally propped to prevent neck strain while looking at a screen, phone or book, and you can avoid the aches and pains that tend to come with sitting at a desk for hours at a time. Win-win!
Utilizing zero gravity position is a simple matter of elevating the head and legs slightly above your heart and stomach, creating that 120-degree angle bend at your hips.
And once you fall in love with this stress-relieving posture (and we know you will!), consider furniture pieces like an electric adjustable bed frame or zero gravity lounger that can take the guesswork out of getting it just right.
With a little practice, dreams can actually be used as a tool for self-improvement.
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