Sleeping like you’re in space is a little-known secret to getting a great night’s sleep here on Earth, doctors say.
The “zero gravity” or “zero g” sleeping position involves sleeping with your head and legs elevated above the heart, with your midsection down in a trough.
It aims to create a feeling of weightlessness by lifting both the upper and lower body at the same time. The position was originally created by NASA to help astronauts balance their weight and relieve stress on the body while in space.
It mimics that of the body natural position in low gravityso astronauts don’t have to put in any extra effort to feel comfortable.
Gravity sleep is meant to relieve stress throughout the body. Either with an adjustable bed or extra pillows, you can achieve this by raising your feet and head above your heart
The goal is to rest the body at 120 degrees, which relieves pressure on the heart and allows blood to flow more freely through the body.
Researchers were looking for ways to make astronaut suits more comfortable and maneuverable. NASA then took the data and applied it to living quarters, changing the way astronauts sleep.
But you don’t have to go to space to sleep better. And this research comes at a time when millions of Americans are in need of a better night’s sleep.
Figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that nearly one-third of Americans don’t get enough rest — at least seven hours — every night.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a lack of sleep is consistently associated with chronic health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity and depression.
The CDC also says 8.4 percent of American adults take pills to fall asleep, more than double the number they took 10 years earlier.
These drugs rob the body of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, and too little REM sleep can lead to forgetfulness.
Relaxing the body can also lead to several other benefits.
“Being zero gravity is usually orthopedically better and easier on your hips and shoulders than sleeping on the joints,” Dr. Chris Winter, a neurologist and sleep expert, told DailyMail.com.
For example, adjusting posture can reduce the risk of acid reflux, which affects an estimated 60 million Americans at least once a month, according to the National Institutes of Health.
“When you lie flat or on your back, the acid flows out of your stomach because the stomach and esophagus are horizontal,” said Dr. Winter. “As you tilt your head upward, gravity holds your stomach contents in your stomach.”
It can also help you breathe better. A 2017 study from the journal Sleep breathing physiology and disorders found that keeping the head above the stomach helps keep the airways open.
This prevents snoring and sleep apnea symptoms, both of which can get in the way of a good night’s sleep.
According to the Arthritis FoundationAs many as 80 percent of people with the condition have trouble sleeping because of painful, stiff, and swollen joints.
Reducing the pressure on the body can alleviate some of that discomfort.
In addition, lifting the lower body can improve circulation and reduce swelling in overweight people, as well as those with diabetes and high blood pressure.
While some companies sell adjustable beds that can be used to achieve this position, you can also do it with some simple tricks.
You can do this by lying on your back, raising your legs. Dr. For example, Winter suggested placing one or two pillows under the knees and shins, as well as one or two just behind the neck.
However, zero gravity sleep may not be a position for those who tend to toss and turn.
“Sleeping in that position limits you a bit. After a while you might want to switch and be on your side or something. That’s kind of a hard thing to do,” said Dr. Winter.
Ultimately, Dr. Winter said, the benefits depend on “what you need to get a good night’s sleep and what a good night’s sleep is for you.”