We spend a third of our lives in bed – and yet, to be honest, I’m not sure the mainstream medical world knows much about sleep.
Believe it or not, the way that we sleep can cause a range of medical ailments ranging from baggy eyes to Alzheimer’s. But it turns out that changing how we sleep can also improve many conditions and even our overall quality of life.
A few years ago, one of my patients came in for a follow-up appointment with me and looked so much better than he usually did. He was bright and lively, and told me that he’d been sleeping better.
What was his secret to better sleep and more energy?
‘I sleep with the head of my bed raised six inches,’ he said. I was a bit taken aback. He then explained that he’d heard about something called ‘Inclined Bed Therapy’ and decided to give it a try.
Lo and behold, it worked right away. Right from the very first morning, he’d woken up with loads more energy. In fact, it’s made such a difference that he hasn’t slept flat ever since.
This was a surprising and somewhat shocking discovery for me, but it turns out that the practice is rooted in ancient medicine. Inclined beds were even found in Egyptian tombs… raised to the height of about six inches!
Inclined Bed Therapy may seem a bit radical, but once you see the science behind it – and the difference it can make in your health – I think you’ll be convinced to give it a try.
Simple sleep system delivers major health benefits
I was intrigued enough that when I got home from work that day, I started to research this interesting method of sleep therapy. It turns out that one Englishman starting thinking outside the box (which you know I like to do), and came up with an ingenious and potentially life-saving way of altering our sleep habits.
The man credited for this medical breakthrough, Andrew Fletcher, has no medical background or training. But in my opinion, that is good news!
He’s actually an engineer, and engineers think about solving complex issues much more rationally than a medical researcher would. Instead of trying to invent a drug that would circumvent or band-aid a symptom, Mr. Fletcher used common sense.
Recognizing that plants and trees use the force of gravity to get water and sap to the top of their leaves, he realized that humans also have a similar system of ducts and tubes in their bodies that move fluids through the limbs (which are like our ‘branches’).
Putting two and two together, he figured out that elevating the head of our beds would create a similar suction-like pressure and elevator-effect in the human body during sleep that would create a constant flow of fluids throughout the night. Lying flat, on the other hand, creates a stagnant pond of bodily fluids that leads to a host of health issues.
By now, most people know that sitting on the couch all day is an unhealthy habit. So why should that same type of stagnation be any healthier while we’re asleep?
NASA even studied the hazardous health consequences of space travel by having study subjects lie flat in bed for prolonged periods of time.
Keeping our bodily fluids moving while we sleep is essential for good health. And we’re learning that Inclined Bed Therapy promotes this movement, and is a useful tool for fighting a variety of serious health conditions.
Use gravity to beat pain, skin disease, and more
Inclined Bed Therapy accomplishes so many cool and amazing things because it’s not just your blood that gets circulated while you sleep. The ‘suction’ that’s created from forcing the head to be raised about six inches also moves your lymphatic and cerebrospinal fluid (the special fluid that recirculates from our brains to the bottom of our spinal cords).
The movement of blood, lymph, and cerebrospinal fluid while sleeping has the potential to heal and aid in a number of health conditions.
In last month’s issue, I shared with you how the movement of the lymph is essential for healthy living. It can help move the ‘trash’ in and out of the body, which is crucial for detoxification. The lymphatic flow in the body influences many diseases, as we discussed in the last issue, but Inclined Bed Therapy has also been said to help many skin issues such as psoriasis and eczema, as well as any form of sinus and head/neck congestion.
On top of that, Inclined Bed Therapy also forces the cerebrospinal fluid to be recirculated at a faster rate and helps to keep the brain from marinating in its own toxins. In fact, the movement of cerebrospinal fluid has led to a number of dramatic success stories with neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, stroke, multiple sclerosis, seizures, and spinal cord injuries.
Finally, a researcher in Micronesia did a small study that showed that Inclined Bed Therapy improved blood sugar by a significant amount in six of the seven patients studied. Interestingly,
at the beginning of the study all of the participants had reported also experiencing issues with back pain, oedema, difficulty sleeping, frequent night urination, snoring, morning light headedness, and pain in joints.
But after sleeping with their heads elevated, all participants reported that these problems improved by the end of the study.1
The obvious gravitational drainage produced by Inclined Bed Therapy can also eliminate morning headaches and reduce those bags under your eyes. Not only can it help your face look better, but it’s also been shown to improve varicose veins and leg oedema!
Here’s how to try Inclined Bed Therapy
With Inclined Bed Therapy, you need to get your head raised about six inches above your feet, which can be accomplished a few different ways. Some people like to start with a sleeping wedge, but most people find it a bit too cumbersome. Others just like to use large or multiple pillows, but sleeping in that position may create some neck discomfort.
The best way that I have found is to get bed risers from a store such as Bed Bath & Beyond and use only two of the four that come in the set to lift the bed frame legs at the headboard end of the bed.
These risers are usually used to create storage space under the bed, so they’re very sturdy and secure. Just don’t use satin sheets – because you might slide right out of the bed!
The good news is that most people feel the difference in the first few nights of sleep. Some people, however, can experience a ‘detox reaction’ (see also last month’s issue for more on this topic) within the first two weeks.
I tell my patients to try to stick with it for at least two weeks, and then the body will get to the other side of the healing process.
Everyone knows that sleep is an incredibly important part of our health and wellbeing. We spend such an extraordinary amount of time sleeping and it makes a lot of sense to try to optimize this precious part of our lives.
I think Mr. Fletcher’s out-of-the-box thinking with Inclined Bed Therapy is brilliant – and I believe it can help just about anyone, regardless of any medical conditions they may be struggling with.
Check out his website www.inclinedbedtherapy.com and give a serious attempt at sleeping with your bed inclined. Some brilliant ideas can sometimes be so simple!
Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing