5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Sleep Flat 

Understand the Benefits of Elevating your Body and Feet 

By Adarsh Shah 

Why do we sleep on a flat surface? Is it good for our bodies? Or does it improve sleep quality?  We know from observing other animals that there are other options available. Bats, for  example, sleep upside down, while horses sleep standing up. So, is one sleeping position better for our health than others? Below you will find 5 reasons why you shouldn’t sleep flat on your  back, along with some helpful suggestions to help you improve your sleeping position. 

The obvious starting point is the sleeping surface. Our bodies are not flat, so why do we  assume it’s best to sleep on a flat surface? Simply put, it’s due to ease and cost. Unsurprisingly,  it is expensive to manufacture custom-shaped mattresses that fit the exact curves of our  bodies. And even if you do purchase one, your body’s weight and contour will inevitably shift as  you age, requiring you to purchase different mattress profiles over time. 

Animals that do not sleep on a consistent surface night after night – like bats, horses and  elephants – have different muscle and skeletal structures that enable them to sleep in different  positions. For example, flamingos – which sleep standing up – have thigh muscles that are  oriented horizontally. Through this orientation, flamingos can simply place one of their legs under their centre of gravity for balance, and sleep soundly using minimal muscle force. 

In contrast, human thigh muscles are oriented vertically. We are indisputably designed to sleep  horizontally. That being said, once we’re in a horizontal position, there is no physiological  evidence to suggest that we have to sleep on an entirely flat surface. As long as the platform is  relatively horizontal, a surface that conforms to the natural C-shaped lordotic curve of our spine  is the optimal way to sleep. 

Longer, Deeper Sleep 

Scientists discovered that by placing a pressure-relieving mattress on top of an adjustable base,  the mattress curved to the natural contours of the body. This custom curvature was achieved  by elevating the leg portion of the bed at the knee joint, and raising/inclining the back of the 

bed. The elevated sleeping position led to fewer interruptions during the night and a longer,  deeper sleep. However, the health benefits didn’t end there. 

Reduced Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar Back Pain 

Raising the leg portion of an adjustable bed can shift your body weight lower, thus reducing  pressure on your lower spine and lower back muscles. This in turn, will shift the weight towards the buttocks, which are better designed to bear our body mass – as demonstrated when sitting.  

There are some adjustable beds on the market with additional motors that facilitate even  greater curvature customization – further reducing pressure on the spine. A motor in the  lumbar area can raise the hips and boost support for vertebrae L1 to L5 of the lower spine,  promoting better posture and spinal health. Further, a neck tilt motor enables customization of  the neck and cervical vertebrae support. Enhanced support to vertebrae C1 to C7 of the upper spine is known to reduce shoulder and neck pain. This additional customized curvature is  particularly beneficial to those suffering from sciatica, arthritis, herniated disk and scoliosis.  

Improved Circulation 

Your heart has to work harder when you sleep on a flat surface. Adjustable sleep systems are  ideal for those suffering with hypertension, high blood pressure, and cardiac issues, as they promote improved circulation. By elevating your head and feet above the level of your heart – often called the zero-gravity position – your blood is able to flow more easily back to the heart,  thereby placing less pressure on it. Many adjustable bases come with the zero-gravity position  pre-programmed, to allow them to quietly glide into position at the push of a button.  Unsurprisingly, improved blood flow offers a variety of health benefits, but it is particularly  important for those recovering from illness, heart-attacks, or surgery.  

Easier Breathing & Relief for Sleep Apnea 

A further benefit of sleeping in an inclined position is improved breathing. Many people find  that their snoring is also reduced due to their back being elevated, thereby relieving the  pressure on their lungs and opening up their airways. Those suffering with obstructive sleep  apnea may also find some relief from an improved sleeping position. Sleep apnea is a common  and serious disorder in which sufferers repeatedly stop breathing for 10 seconds or more  during sleep. The disorder reduces oxygen levels in the blood and can frequently awaken  sleepers throughout the night. The American Sleep Apnea Association states that “Sleeping on  your back with your body elevated from the waist up may help keep your airway from  collapsing and, in turn, improve your condition”.


Better Gut Health 

The fifth and final reason to avoid sleeping flat is that you can alleviate a number of common  stomach issues. Stomach pain is a major cause of interrupted sleep – indeed, more than 65% of  people diagnosed with IBD are reported to experience sleep problems. Doctors note that even  common symptoms such as abdominal pain and cramping can become far more tolerable  simply by revising your sleeping position with an adjustable bed. By raising the back and  minutely adjusting the position of your chest and neck, you can alleviate acid reflux, indigestion  and GERD – all of which promote better gut health. 

Experts have long known that better sleep leads to elevated energy levels and superior  standards of wellness. However, it is only now that science is uncovering ways through which  we can improve our sleeping habits. So, do you know how your sleep is impacting your overall  health? Do you know which steps you need to take to improve it? To learn more about  improving your sleep quality, contact the friendly sleep experts at Ultramatic.  

Visit our showrooms in Toronto / Mississauga / Oakville, browse www.Ultramatic.ca, email  info@ultramaticsleep.com, ping us on Facebook Messenger, or call 1-800-455-6421 for a free  consultation.