How the Zero Gravity Sleep Position Helps You Get Better Shuteye
Experience a better night's rest with the zero gravity sleep position. Learn its pros and cons. And the right way of sleeping in this unique posture.
Has a decent night’s sleep been eluding you? If so, the zero gravity (or zero g) sleep position could be your answer to better sleep quality. In a nutshell, it’s a posture that supposedly puts the least pressure on your body.
In this post, we'll discuss the zero gravity sleep position. And we’ll also cover the benefits that come with it. Plus, you’ll also score tips for improving sleep quality while you’re in this posture.
NASA invented the zero gravity sleep position. It helps astronauts maintain a neutral spinal alignment when heading to space. It eases the tension and pressure on your body for better quality zzzs.
It means lying on your back with your legs slightly elevated. This position reduces strain on your body. Plus, it promotes better blood flow, among others. We’ll discuss the benefits later in this article, so keep reading.
How do I sleep in the zero gravity sleep position?
We recommend an adjustable mattress and bed base to get this position right. In short, an adjustable bed.
What is an adjustable bed?
To keep it simple, it’s like those used in hospitals. A simple push of a button adjusts the heights of the foot and head of the bed.
There are many adjustable beds available in the market. And quite a number of these already come with a zero gravity preset. They also come with bells and whistles like massage features and under-bed lighting.
How do I use an adjustable bed for the zero gravity sleep position?
The easiest way is to use an adjustable bed with a zero gravity sleep position preset. There’s less room for error. So, make it a top priority when you’re shopping around.
But just in case yours doesn’t have a preset, here’s how to nail down the zero-g manually:
According to Sleep Advisor, follow NASA’s calculations for a neutral body posture. It’s a 128-degree angle between your torso and knees. And a 133-degree angle between your lower and upper legs(1).
Start by adjusting the upper incline. Then, work on the leg incline. There should be an approximately 128-degree angle from your torso to your legs. Bend your knees with your thighs at about a 133-degree angle from the hamstrings.
Once you’ve adjusted the bed base, lie down and position yourself. You’ll notice that your head and legs are above your heart level.
A protractor is helpful if your adjustable bed doesn’t have an angle guide. And when done adjusting, save it as a preset, if possible.
Depending on your body type, you may need to adjust the angles. A +/- 7-degree adjustment for the torso-to-knee angle is good. And for the upper to lower leg angle, you have +/- 8 degrees.
Choose an adjustable mattress made from memory foam or latex. A hybrid mattress (part foam and pocketed coils) is also a good option.
And finally, don’t forget to support your head and neck with a pillow.
💡 Key Takeaway: The Zero Gravity Sleep Position can boost sleep quality by improving spinal alignment and circulation. It may also ease tension on the neck and shoulders. Adjust your bed using the recommended angles for maximum comfort.
Benefits of the Zero Gravity Sleep Position
As promised, here are the benefits of sleeping in the zero gravity sleep position.
May Reduce Heartburn and Acid Reflux
The zero gravity sleep position is one way to relieve heartburn and acid reflux.
Acid reflux is when a portion of your sphincter relaxes when it shouldn’t. This sends stomach acids back into your esophagus. And heartburn, a burning sensation in your chest, is one symptom.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (or GERD) is a more serious version of acid reflux because it happens repeatedly. Aside from heartburn, symptoms include upper abdominal pain, regurgitation and trouble swallowing.
Sleeping in the zero-g position helps by keeping you semi-upright, pulling the acid back down to the stomach.
Helps Improve Breathing for Deeper Sleep
One disadvantage of the supine sleep position, also known as laying on your back, is that it can worsen obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
OSA occurs when your soft palate and the back of your tongue collapse into your throat. Sleeping on your back increases the likelihood of this happening. OSA doesn’t just cause loud snoring. It makes you stop and start breathing repeatedly.
The zero gravity sleep position helps because it opens up your chest, preventing airway blockage.
That said, zero g is also a good position if you snore occasionally. It may also help relieve congestion from allergies or sinusitis.
What these conditions have in common is they hamper your breathing, which leads to frequent awakenings and shallow sleep. The result? Poor sleep quality and next-day fatigue.
Consider the zero gravity sleep position if difficulty breathing gets in the way of a decent night’s rest.
Aids with Blood Circulation and Digestion
Sleeping in the zero g position puts your body in a neutral pose. There’s little to no pressure on your vital organs. Your blood can flow properly with your head and feet above heart level.
And good blood circulation has numerous benefits. As you sleep, it may facilitate the removal of waste from your brain. If you suffer from swollen legs and feet, this position reduces inflammation in those areas. And it also prevents your legs and arms from going numb and tingly.
The zero gravity sleep position is also good for your digestive system. Sleeping with your upper half elevated means food can easily make its way down from the esophagus to the stomach.
Helps Relieve Neck and Back Pain
When you sleep in a flat posture, the pressure on your spine results in aches and pains in your neck and lower back. If you already have difficulty sleeping, you may find the pain worse. According to Sleep Foundation, poor-quality sleep also heightens your pain sensitivity(2).
Sleeping in zero g keeps your spine aligned. It’s a better option than a supine sleep position because it eases pressure on your neck and back.
💡 Key Takeaway: The zero gravity sleep position has good health benefits. It gets your blood flowing and aids digestion. It also helps with sleep apnea, snoring and congestion. It can help ease neck and back pain when done right.
Potential Risks of the Zero Gravity Sleep Position
We’d be lying if we said this position doesn’t come with risks. And a big part of this is caused by not doing it right.
We mentioned earlier that the zero gravity sleep position eases pain in your neck and back. The opposite could happen if you don’t support your head and neck with a pillow, use an adjustable bed base and the right mattress. Positioning yourself at the incorrect angles may increase pressure on your neck, shoulders and back.
Although the Zero Gravity Sleep Position has many pros, it’s crucial to understand how to do it properly. That way, you can reap all the benefits without any discomfort.
And this is very important. If you have existing health conditions, clear sleeping this way with your doctor first.
💡 Key Takeaway: A potential risk of the zero gravity sleep position is pain caused by increased pressure on your body. It happens when you don’t do it the right way. Consult your health provider before sleeping in this posture, especially if you have existing health conditions.
Tips for Getting Good Sleep in the Zero Gravity Position
If you have trouble sleeping, the Zero Gravity Sleep Position is a smart way to improve the quality of your zzzs. Let's do a quick summary of what you’ve learned so far in terms of benefits:
It helps you breathe better for deeper sleep if you are congested, snore or have sleep apnea.
It gets the blood flowing and helps you digest food better.
It eases neck and back pain if done correctly.
It provides relief for GERD and acid reflux.
So, you’ve got your sleep position down. What now?
Make the most of it by setting the right stage for a good night’s sleep. Relax before you hit the hay. Make sure to invest in the right sleep accessories. And finally, make your environment conducive to sleep.
Try relaxation strategies before bedtime.
It’s essential to relax your mind and body before going to bed. Set aside about 30 minutes every day for calming activities.
Think reading, listening to sleep-inducing tunes, stretching and meditation. Aromatherapy with lavender, bergamot or eucalyptus oil is a natural way to relax the senses. A warm bath does wonders, too.
Use the right sleep accessories.
Investing in memory foam pillows and weighted blankets can help enhance your experience while in this sleep position.
Also, at the very least, use an adjustable bed base. It’ll let you customize the height of different parts of your bed, according to the right angles. Using an ordinary bed and propping yourself up with pillows may not get you in the proper position for zero g.
Get your bedroom sleep ready.
Your bedroom needs to be at the right temperature for optimal sleep. And that’s 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another essential factor is how dark your bedroom is. And it should be as dark as possible. Light tells your body that it's time to be alert. Darkness does the opposite. It also triggers the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Unless it’s the kind that helps you fall asleep, too much noise can prevent you from drifting off (and staying there). Sleeping in silence means fewer distractions.
Invest in blackout curtains to keep things dark. Or even better, a high-quality sleep mask. And consider a white noise machine or a pair of comfy earplugs to block out or mask external noise.
💡 Key Takeaway: Apart from sleeping in the zero gravity sleep position, go the extra mile to reap its benefits. Make sure to relax before bedtime and create an environment that’s conducive to sleep. Don’t forget to invest in a suitable mattress, adjustable bed base, pillows and other sleep accessories.
FAQs on the Zero Gravity Sleep Position
Is it OK to sleep in a zero gravity position?
Yes, it is for some. Sleeping in this position can lessen the pressure on your spine and joints, keeping your body aligned while sleeping. Moreover, it may help boost your circulation, improve your breathing, and ease neck and back pain.
But bear in mind that this position isn’t suitable for everyone. It’s wise to consult a doctor, especially if you have existing health conditions.
On top of this, it’s important to know the right way of sleeping in this position to avoid pain or discomfort.
What’s the most natural way to sleep in the zero gravity position?
The most natural way to sleep in this position involves lying on your back with your legs slightly elevated and arms relaxed at your sides.
It may evenly distribute body weight, ease tension and pressure and promote spinal alignment.
Can I sleep on my side in the zero gravity position?
It’s possible to experiment if this works for you as a side sleeper.
Side sleepers tend to experience pain in the shoulders and hips. Zero g may help relieve the pain. However, it may prove trickier to switch sides as you sleep.
Additionally, you shouldn’t sleep on your belly in the zero gravity position. Your spine won’t be in a neutral position and neither will your neck, head and shoulders. This unnatural posture may lead to aching joints and muscles.
Should I use a pillow while in the zero gravity sleep position?
Using a pillow in a zero gravity position provides support while keeping the head and neck aligned.
You’ll sleep in more comfort, too. If sleeping with a pillow proves uncomfortable, try using one with a lower loft.
The zero gravity sleep position is beneficial in many ways. It improves breathing, blood circulation and digestion. It helps ease neck and back pain, too.
Don’t forget to use an adjustable bed base (and the right mattress). One with a zero gravity preset makes things a lot easier. Get the angles right and you’ll sleep in comfort.
Regardless of your sleep position, do it right. It influences how poor or good your sleep quality is. And not just that. It’s also telling of your personality. Curious to know what yours is? Read our blog post to know what your sleeping position says about you.
Remember that a good night’s sleep means enough energy for a productive day. We’re curious to know how zero g works for you. Let us know by dropping a comment below.
(1) “Zero Gravity Sleeping Position – 6 Benefits for Your Health.” Sleep Advisor, www.sleepadvisor.org/zero-gravity-sleep-position-benefits/. Accessed 24 February 2023.
(2) “Pain and Sleep.” Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-health/pain-and-sleep. Accessed 01 March 2023.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website or provided through our blog, e-mails, or programs is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment that can be provided by your healthcare professionals.