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Benefits of Sleeping Elevated

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If you wake up feeling groggy, if you toss and turn at night due to discomfort, or if you suffer from any number of sleep disorders, it may be time to reevaluate your sleep setup. The way you are sleeping, or what you are sleeping on, could be preventing you from spending enough time in deep sleep, also known as stages 3 and 4 of the sleep cycle. Without substantial deep sleep, your body is not getting enough time to fully rest and recover before you wake. Studies have shown that a simple way to alleviate nighttime discomfort is to sleep with your upper body elevated, either with the help of a pillow or an adjustable bed frame. In fact, there are a number of benefits tied to sleeping elevated or sleeping on an adjustable bed frame, particularly for sleepers who struggle with common sleep issues, some of which we explore below.

Sleeping On an Incline

Elevated sleeping or inclined sleeping is sleeping in a position in which your upper body sits higher than it would in a normal, flat sleeping position. Not only can inclined sleeping elevate your head higher than your heart, but it can also elevate your entire sleeping experience by removing discomfort or obstructions that interfere with sound sleep. The various benefits that come with sleeping on an incline are achieved thanks to the assistance of gravity. For example, sleeping in a semi-recumbent position with the upper body tilted can actually decrease the severity of sleep apnea by opening up the airway. In fact, this sleeping position can help alleviate problems associated with the digestive, respiratory, and circulatory systems.

Benefits of the Elevated Sleep Position

Digestive System

When the upper body is elevated during sleep, gravity is able to pull stomach contents, such as food and acid, to a lower position to provide digestive relief. This can help mitigate stomach issues that usually get worse when lying flat, such as:

  • Acid Reflux: Acid reflux is a burning sensation that can occur in the chest when your food or stomach acid travel back up your esophagus, also known as heartburn. Symptoms of acid reflux become more noticeable when you lie flat, especially after a large meal. By sleeping on an incline, gravity makes it more difficult for food and acid to travel back up your esophagus, minimizing acid reflux symptoms.
  • Food Indigestion: Indigestion is stomach discomfort generally felt in your upper abdomen. If you sleep elevated, food will stay in your lower stomach rather than push against your upper stomach, thereby reducing stomach pressure or nausea sensation after eating.

Respiratory System

If you sleep with your upper body elevated, gravity helps pull down your upper airway to keep it open. At the same time, this elevated position also prevents your weaker throat muscles from collapsing and blocking your airway. Therefore, an incline position can enable easier breathing, which can help provide relief for the following conditions:

  • Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses, or the tongue falls back and obstructs the airways which can cause pauses or interruptions in your breathing. However, sleeping in an upright position will help open your airway and prevent the inflicting obstructions that cause you to wake throughout the night.
  • Mouth Breathing: Mouth breathing often occurs when an airway becomes obstructed. Breathing through your mouth can actually reduce oxygen absorption capacity in the lungs, which, in effect, shortens your breath. Sleeping at an incline will make it easier to breathe through your nose, which can also help with sleep apnea and snoring.

Circulatory System

Sleeping elevated allows gravity to help circulate and drain the body’s fluids. Lying flat might otherwise allow these fluids to pool in certain areas of the body which can cause discomfort, pain, swelling, and even infection from fluid retention. Elevated sleep promotes gravity-assisted drainage which can help manage conditions such as:

  • Post-Nasal Drip: Post-nasal drip occurs when mucus drips down the back of the throat which can cause coughing, the body’s way of clearing this obstruction, leaving you to wake up. Sleeping with the upper body upright can open up your airway to helps stop this sensation.
  • Migraine Pain: Lying flat on your back can actually increase pressure on your head causing oxygen levels to decrease and blood vessels to become restricted. However, an inclined position of about 30-40 degrees allows gravity to drain the fluid causing the pressure on your head. This greatly reduces the chance of waking with a headache or migraine.

Try a MotionInABox™ Adjustable Bed for Improved Sleep

Clearly, sleeping elevated can alleviate a lot of nighttime discomfort. If you happen to struggle with any of the aforementioned conditions, or if you think elevated sleep would elevate your nighttime experience, we recommend you try a BedInABox® adjustable bed. We introduced our MotionInABox™ Adjustable Base, a Bluetooth®-enabled adjustable foundation, to personalize your sleep experience. Not only do you have full head and foot mobility, but you can also effortlessly customize your sleep set-up by programming your two favorite sleep settings as presets. Our MotionInABox™ adjustable foundation even offers a zero-gravity setting, which eliminates any unnecessary pressure on your body. Available in a range of sizes and compatible with all BedInABox® mattresses, the MotionInABox™ adjustable base is an affordable way to upgrade your sleep experience. If you have any questions about the MotionInABox™ or any other BedInABox® sleep products, please feel free to connect with our Customer Service team!