In recent years, the negative health impacts of sitting for extended periods of time has increased in awareness. Researchers have gone as far as to say that “sitting is the new smoking”.  NASA scientist Dr. Joan Vernikos has shown that excessive sitting causes many of the same problems that astronauts experience in space due to the reduced force of gravity on the human body. The deficiency in gravity from sitting can cause physical degeneration of the spine, muscles, and connective tissue, as well as obesity and early death.  Most people however, are not aware that sleeping on a flat surface has the same negative impacts as sitting or weightlessness in outer space. Research has shown that sleeping on a flat surface can cause reduced sleep quality, migraines, Alzheimer’s disease, glaucoma, sleep apnea, strokes, and erectile dysfunction among other diseases.


There is no real reason or logic behind why humans sleep on a flat surface.  One day, someone decided to make a flat bed, and it must have caught on.  Sleeping on a flat surface is not the norm in the animal kingdom. Most mammals will choose to sleep with their head uphill if they can. Beds found in the tombs of ancient Egyptian royalty were almost always at a 5 degree incline.


Elk and deer prefer to sleep with their head uphill

Tutankhamen’s bed.  The left side is the head of the bed, and what looks like a headboard is actually the feet end.


Gravity inclined sleeping is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of sleeping on a flat surface, the bed is at a slight incline of 3.5 to 5 degrees. The main benefit behind inclined bed therapy is improved circulation of blood and lymph, simply by gravity. When you sleep, your brain detoxifies itself through the glymphatic system.  During deep sleep, the brain shrinks and gets washed with cerebrospinal fluid, and this waste then gets moved into the peripheral lymph.  Adding a five degree incline to your sleeping surface can help the glymphatic system drain “downhill” to the gut to be excreted. This can help detoxify heavy metals, pathogens, and other harmful substances from the brain. A condition called Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI) is very common in chronic disease. In CCSVI, blood and lymph flow out of the brain is compromised, leading to neurological problems. It is a common symptom that CCSVI gets worse while lying flat.


Gravity inclined sleeping also has numerous benefits on body structure.  The slight incline is enough to restore the force of gravity on the body, straightening out the spine, as well as strengthening the muscles, fascia, ligaments, and tendons.  Sleeping inclined can help prevent degeneration of the spine and connective tissue associated with ageing. It can also help with poor postural conditions such as kyphosis, lordosis, and scoliosis, as well as reduce the symptoms of restless leg syndrome (RLS).


In the United States and other westernized countries, there is an epidemic of sleep disordered breathing.  Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are major risk factors for about every disease due to lack of oxygen during sleep.  Sleeping on an incline helps to open the airway, alleviating snoring and restoring oxygen to the brain.  The force of gravity from sleeping inclined also prevents acid reflux and heartburn.


Experimentation has shown that 3.5 to 5 degrees is the ideal incline for improved sleep. Folding just the head of the bed up with an adjustable bed frame will not work, the entire bed has to be on a slope.  For a standard king or queen sized bed, this comes out to adding roughly 6 inches of height to the head of the bed.  Adding 3 inches of support to the middle of the bed frame may also be needed for stability.  You can buy 6 inch risers online for about $10, or use books, bricks, or wood. There is a free smartphone app called TiltMeter that can be used to measure the incline of the bed.

While almost no bed manufacturer has caught on to sleeping inclined, SAMINA not only promotes this method but also offers a patented bed frame solution developed in partnership with Luxlet, an Italian company,  to create a metal-free, wooden bed frame with adjustable inclination up to 5.5-degrees.


Notice how the entire bed is on a slope, not just the head of the bed

Sleeping on an incline can feel weird at first although some people adjust with ease because it is only a modest incline. Some people may need to start with just a few inches, and increase every week or two as they get used to it.  Since it does increase detoxification from the brain, taking chlorella or another toxin binder before bed is recommended. It can take weeks of sleeping on an incline to start noticing improvements, with slow improvements over about 6 months. After the brief adjustment period, most people choose to never go back to sleeping flat again.

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Written By: Bryant Rubright