The zero gravity position is a low-stress sleep position invented by NASA. Originally the goal was to relieve astronauts by dispersing the immense stress on their bodies during takeoff.
Now you don’t have to be an astronaut on a rocket. You only need an adjustable bed and a mattress to achieve a zero-gravity position.
What is the Zero Gravity Position?
Lying in the zero gravity pose means your body assumes what NASA calls Neutral Body Posture (NBP). NBP is the position your body naturally assumes when no force (i.e., the force of gravity) is exerted on it.
When in NBP, you’re bent in the middle at a 120-degree angle. This does a few things:
- Elevates the knees above the heart
- Elevates the head above the heart
- Aligns the spine in a neutral position
- Aligns the hips in a low-stress position
Since the position is a natural pose that the human body assumes on its own, it can reduce stress on your body in a number of different ways.
Benefits of the Zero Gravity Sleep Position
The zero gravity pose gets its name from the way it makes you feel like you’re floating. It decompresses the spinal column and helps the muscles of the back relax. It also relieves the pressure that your own weight exerts on your body.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits this pose can offer.
Back Pain Relief
One of the biggest benefits of the sleep pose is amazing back pain relief. Because it alleviates pressure on the spinal column and relaxes the muscles all at once, this pose may help relieve a number of painful back issues, such as:
- Herniated discs (2)
- Scoliosis (3)
- Spinal stenosis (4)
- Sciatica (5)
- Neck/shoulder pain (6)
- Spondylolisthesis (7)
The spine rests in neutral alignment when in the pose, and this means pressure is evenly distributed amongst the vertebrae. Thus, the zero gravity pose can be particularly beneficial to those who have back pain in specific areas, like the lumbar or cervical regions (8).
Positioning the head and legs above the heart can reduce stress on this vital organ because it does not have to work as hard to get blood back to itself. Gravity does some of the work for it, as blood from the elevated legs and upper body can simply fall back to the chest.
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Circulation improvement doesn’t just help the heart. It has the added benefit of reducing inflammation throughout the entire body. This is especially important for those with inflammatory issues like edema (9).
Joint Stress Relief
Relieving the pressure of your body weight and reducing inflammation can also help ease joint pain. Reducing inflammation can alleviate the pain associated with arthritis (10), and relaxing the hip flexor muscles can ease pain and tension in the hips, knees, and ankles.
Snoring is caused by the soft tissues in the throat. When the muscles relax during sleep, the tissues fall into the airways and block the passage of air. This causes the soft tissues to vibrate when air passes by them, and it can even lead to obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleeping with the head elevated allows gravity to hold the soft tissues in place when the body’s muscles are relaxed, which can eliminate snoring. Keep in mind that if you have obstructive sleep apnea (11), you may need further treatment from a medical professional. But the zero gravity position can still help.
Acid Reflux Relief
When you’re seated or standing, gravity can help hold your stomach acid in your stomach where it belongs. When you’re lying flat, however, you don’t have this extra aid. Many people experience nocturnal acid reflux as a result, but sleeping with the head elevated often eliminates this problem.
Naturally, when you alleviate pain, inflammation, acid reflux, snoring, and a host of other issues that cause discomfort, you improve your sleep. So the zero gravity position can help you not only increase the time you’re asleep. It can increase your sleep quality as well.
How You Can Sleep Like an Astronaut
There are a couple of different ways you can get into the zero gravity position, whether you want to sleep or just sit in a more comfortable posture in bed.
Potentially, the most convenient way to achieve the zero gravity pose is by using an adjustable bed, sometimes called a Zero-G bed. Adjustable beds can elevate your legs and head at whatever angle you like, and many adjustable bases come with zero gravity presets. So all you have to do to sleep in this position is hit a button.
Many adjustable beds also come with luxury features, like:
- Vibrating massage
- Snoring detection
- Under-bed lighting
- USB charging ports
Despite these features, some sleepers may still be reluctant to try an adjustable bed in their homes because of their association with hospitals.
It’s true that adjustable beds were cumbersome and ugly in the past, but those days are long gone. Nowadays, these beds are no longer bulky hospital contraptions. There are many sleek, modern, and attractive pieces that offer style and function all at once.
Best Adjustable Bases
Among the best adjustable beds are those on offer at MLILY. MLILY’s collection includes higher-end products with tons of luxury features, like the NE600S. This fantastic adjustable bed offers perks like:
- Modern zero-clearance wall-hugging design
- Independent head/foot/lower back adjustments
- Height-adjustable legs
- Multi-intensity massage
- USB charging and LED lighting
The collection also features more budget-friendly and mid-range choices, like the NL200U and NL300U bases. These bases still offer some of the great features of the NE600S, like the zero-clearance design and adjustable height, but at more affordable prices.
Whether you’re looking for all the latest and greatest sleep technologies or just an affordable base that can help you get a good night’s sleep, you’re sure to find it in the MLILY adjustable base collection.
If an adjustable base isn’t in the cards for you right now, you can also sleep in zero gravity by using pillows. Wedge pillows are usually the easiest way. Just stick one under your knees and the other behind your back.
You can also pile up regular pillows under your knees and behind your back, though you may have a harder time making them stay in position. Pillows with customizable thickness can help solve this problem since you can make them thick enough to eliminate the need to stack them.
When it comes to the zero gravity sleep position, pillows are usually not as good an option as adjustable bases. They can shift around when you move and do not offer as much support. But if you cannot get an adjustable bed frame for whatever reason, pillows are still better than nothing.
Should I sleep in the zero gravity position?
The zero gravity pose isn’t for everyone. Some people find it uncomfortable or unnatural, and it can take some getting used to. However, many people who don’t like it initially come to wish they had started using it sooner.
The zero gravity position could be for you if you have any of the following issues:
- Back pain
- Joint pain
- Acid reflux
- Poor circulation
Even if it feels weird in the beginning, you may find that the zero gravity position helps alleviate these issues over time.
How can I best achieve the zero gravity sleep position?
In my experience, the easiest way to achieve the zero gravity position is by using an adjustable base. Adjustable bases often have automatic presets that allow them to put you into your preferred pose at the touch of a button. They also offer more support than pillows.
Another big benefit of adjustable bases is they can help you train yourself out of sleeping in unhealthy positions. For instance, if you have a hard time making yourself stop sleeping on your stomach, an adjustable bed base could help you learn to sleep in a healthier posture.
What if my partner doesn’t want to sleep in a zero-gravity bed?
If you want to sleep in the zero gravity pose and your partner does not, there are a couple of things you can do. You could try a split king adjustable base that will let you and your partner choose the best positions for yourselves. You might also try strategically placing wedge pillows under your own body so that your partner can keep lying flat.
The zero gravity pose offers tons of fantastic benefits. If you need relief from back pain, inflammation, snoring, and more, then this healthy and pressure-relieving sleep position could be for you.